Nowadays, Huck Finn is as a lightning rod for racial issues, which explains why so many schools have banned the book over the years. But in the late 18th century, when Mark Twain published it, the novel was more controversial as a critique of childhood in America. In the Times, Year in Reading alum Parul Sehgal reads Huck Finn’s America, a new book by Andrew Levy that sheds light on the context of the era. You could also read our founder C. Max Magee on reading Huck Finn as a child.
Literary fame is a knotty thing. It’s hard to predict exactly who will be known for centuries, and why. William Wordsworth, for example, owes at least part of his fame to the Lake District, which started to use him in their tourist campaigns not long after his death. In The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman takes a look at H.J. Jackson’s Those Who Write for Immortality. Related: Gina Fattore’s recent essay on fame and money.
"Ms. Cline, who was 27 when the novel came out, was celebrated as a major new talent. But for the last two years, her success has been overshadowed, in private, by legal threats levied against her by a former boyfriend." Emma Cline, bestselling author of The Girls, and her ex-boyfriend, Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, have filed public lawsuits against each other including allegations of plagiarism, physical abuse, and intimidation, according to the New York Times. From our archives: staff writer Michael Bourne's review of Cline's debut novel.