The Hartford House Hosts A Lecture on Twain and Democracy

October 6 • 7:00 pm FREE

Don Bliss, in conversation with Steve Courtney, will explore Twain’s articulation of various threats to democracy—among them voter apathy and the lack of civic education, elected representatives who put loyalty to political party above loyalty to country, the influence of money in politics and the legislative process, the abuse of executive power, and human nature’s drift toward autocracy. 



The great grandson and grandson of Mark Twain publishers, Don Bliss teaches courses on Mark Twain and politics at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University and Johns Hopkins University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he served in government for thirteen years and practiced law for thirty years. He is the author of numerous articles about Mark Twain and five books including “Mark Twain’s Ten Lessons for a Healthy Democracy, Keeping the Republic.” 


Steve Courtney is the author of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend (Georgia, 2008), winner of the Connecticut Book Award; ‘The Loveliest Home That Ever Was’: The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford (Dover, 2011); and Mark Twain’s Hartford (Arcadia, 2016), among other works. He is co-editor, with Peter Messent and Harold K. Bush, of The Mark Twain-Joseph Hopkins Twichell Letters (Georgia, 2017, paperback edition published 2020). He has been a journalist for forty years, much of that time at The Hartford Courant, and has served as publicist, curatorial special project coordinator and curatorial jack-of-all-trades at The Mark Twain House & Museum.