All Wrong

By posted at 12:19 pm on January 4, 2015 1

“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.

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One Response to “All Wrong”

  1. Mark HG
    at 10:46 am on January 5, 2015

    Twain wrote: “PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”

    Well, didn’t that fly over the head of academe!

    The Salon article is very insightful. Thank you for highlighting it.

    What stood out for me:
    Forgetting is the partner of illusion.
    In popular culture the minstrelsy stage paint has been discredited but songs, dances, jokes, and cultural strategies endure.
    Twain can help us acknowledge that, but only if we care to.

    The book begs the question whether we are truly more equal and open-minded compared with Twain’s day. Some might say we’re not. And that doesn’t fit the narrative of linear progress, ever onward and upward.

    That, in my view, is what academics and school administrators dislike in the book: it’s not the word, it’s the mirror. Something that makes them uncomfortable.

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