Author and historian Carlo Devito tackles this question in his latest book: what would it be like to spend Christmas with Mark Twain?
Below are some questions about the book – “A Mark Twain Christmas: A Journey Across Three Christmas Seasons,” with answers provided by Devito.
What inspired you to write this book?
I went to Hartford with my children to see the Mark Twain House at Christmas. I had made a deal with them to go to Doogies Hot Dogs (which they had seen on television) in exchange for escorting me to the Twain home. The house and the stories of their Christmases touched me in a way I had not expected. It reminded me of my own childhood and my own childhood Christmases since my mother and father had taken me there as a kid. I really wanted to know more about Twain’s life and his family’s and Christmas. But there was nothing out there about it. I had to find bits and pieces. I became curious, and started collecting odd books, articles and letters to try and understand more about the family’s yuletide times. Eventually I realized I had a lot of information. And a thought started to spark that maybe this was a book. But the whole thing started with me wanting to experience something different at Christmas with my children
What research went into this book?
A lot. I combed through his correspondence, and others, combed through his works, through several libraries worth of materials, including old articles in the Times and other places. I revisited the Mark Twain House several times, talking with the guides, and other staff about the house and times. I researched the period and also found other Twain scholars and aficionados who had bits and pieces. And of course, Twain’s daughters wrote about him, and their remembrances were also very enlightening.
Devito will be hosting three book signing events this month at the Mark Twain House, 351 Farmington Ave., in Hartford. The first is scheduled for Dec. 4th at 5 p.m. and the second and third are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 8.