Harold K. Bush, better known to his friends as Hal, is an active member in the Mark Twain Circle of America, a frequent contributor to Mark Twain Annual and other Twain-centric publications, and a friend of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, most recently visiting as a Trouble Begins lecturer in 2017. Hal is one of the leading authorities on Twain’s engagement with theology and 19th-century American religious practice. He is author of Mark Twain & The Spiritual Crisis of His Age (U Alabama, 2007) and Continuing Bonds With The Dead: Parental Grief & Nineteenth-Century American Authors (U Alabama, 2016). He also co-edited, with Steve Courtney and Peter Messent, The Letters of Mark Twain & Joseph Twichell (U Georgia, 2017).
On January 21st of this year, Hal suffered a traumatic brain injury. For more about his condition please visit and consider donating to the GoFundMe organized by his niece, Chelsea Franko.
This special episode of The American Vandal Podcast features a series of readings from Hal’s friends and fellow scholars who hope that literature will bring him and his family some comfort during his recovery. This project was conceived by Joe Csicsila and Tracy Wuster. The readings are, as follows:
- Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad Chapter II, read by Ben Click (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)
- Mark Twain, Life On The Mississippi Chapter IX, read by Tracy Wuster (University of Texas, Austin)
- Willa Cather, O Pioneers! Part II Chapter I, read by Joe Csicsila (Eastern Michigan University)
- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter VII, read by Miki Pfeffer (Independent Scholar)
- Mark Twain, “How I Edited An Agricultural Paper,” read by Mark Dawidziak (Actor & Independent Scholar)
- Mark Twain, from “Eve’s Diary,” read by Kerry Driscoll (Mark Twain Project)
- Mark Twain, John Greenleaf Whittier 70th Birthday Dinner Speech, read by Tracy Wuster
- Mark Twain, “An Encounter with An Interviewer,” read by Mark Dawidziak
- Mark Twain, from Which Was The Dream?, read by Matt Seybold (Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies)
This episode also features a composition by Roberto Murguia and Róisín Malone, donated by St. Louis University, where Hal is a Professor of English.