Twayne Publishers was founded in 1949 in New York to publish translations of works of classic Chinese literature for an American audience. As befitting their mission, their name was inspired by the line from Rudyard Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West": "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet". The name Twain was changed to Twayne in deference to the heirs of Mark Twain, lest anyone think they were attempting to capitalize on the author's name.

They have also published works of literature both in English and from numerous countries in translation. They are best known today for their scholarly publications, especially the famed "Authors Series". Perhaps best described as Cliff's Notes for professionals, these slim navy blue hardbacks are an invaluable reference and starting point for research into a particular author, and I can't begin to describe how helpful they've been for me. The series is large - there is a Twayne for probably every author you've ever heard of.