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Steve Courtney, "'This Damned Fool's Example': The Rifts Between Mark Twain and Joe Twichell" : Joseph Lemak : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet ArchiveSkip to main content
Presented on Wednesday, May 13 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. In the summer of 1883 close friends Joe Twichell and Samuel Clemens fell out over a piece of unwanted publicity the minister had published in the Hartford Courant - an incident with Quarry Farm origins. Clemens sent the clipping to relatives, scrawling on it: "I send this to beg that at least you folks will avoid this damned fool's example." It was one of several events that stand in relief against the two men's normally loving association, incidents in which Twichell stepped over lines of behavior firmly established by Clemens - in his own mind, at least. But unlike the stormy rifts with others, those with Twichell always reached some kind of a resolution. Steve Courtney explores the origins of these blowups and what they meant for his famous friendship.
Steve Courtney has been a journalist for more than thirty years, and was a writer and editor for the Hartford Courant for more than twenty. He now works at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford as a publicist and guide. He is the author of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend (2008), "The Loveliest Home There Ever Was": The Story of Mark Twain's Home in Hartford (2011), and Mark Twain's Hartford (2016). He is co-editor of The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story (2006) and The Letters of Mark Twain and Joseph Hopkins Twichell (2017).