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Gary Scharnhorst is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico, editor of the journal American Literary Realism, published by the University of Illinois Press, editor in alternating years of the research annual American Literary Scholarship, published by Duke University Press, and general editor of the “Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism” monograph series published by the University of Alabama Press. He is also the former chair of the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association and former president of the Western Literature Association.
In addition, he is the author of over a hundred scholarly articles in such distinguished journals as American Literature, American Quarterly, Arizona Quarterly, Civil War History, Modern Fiction Studies, Nineteenth Century Literature, Legacy, Biography, Western American Literature, Resources for American Literary Study, the Mark Twain Journal, and the Mark Twain Annual. He is also the author or editor of nearly fifty books, including biographies of Horatio Alger, Jr., Bret Harte, Kate Field, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Julian Hawthorne, and Owen Wister.

His most recent book, published by the University of Missouri Press, is The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years.