Monday, January 10, 2011

Zackel: Mark Twain, the N Word and Compassion

I’m halfway through ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and so far I can say Frederick Zackel nailed all the controversy this week regarding a novel that Lionel Trilling said, was "America's most eloquent argument against racism.."

Read Mr. Zackel's piece here. Your continuing (and perhaps differing) comments on this discussion are welcomed.

7 comments:

Evan Lewis said...

If ever a book deserved to be burned, this expurgated version is it.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Great article, thanks for point it out. This nonsense about "Huck Finn" has been going on for much too long. People don't read what's in front of them, they read what they want to see, and it's a shame. Let's hope they don't ruin this great book.

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember this controversy rearing it's head back in the late 80s. Folks never learn. How the human race survives is beyond me.

David Cranmer said...

So much is media driven. If a newspaper hadn't decided this was newsworthy we wouldn't even be talking about it. I mean how many copies of this version would this guy have sold? A small percentage to academia and that would be it.

Oscar said...

What do you have to do, leave directions in your will that says nobody at any time may change any words in any of my books? At least that way, the heirs may be able to sue the changers.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The use of that word is such a wonderful opportunity for teachers to discuss the history of racism. And "slave" has a completely different meaning. Slaves have existed across time and elasticities. How dare they touch the greatest American novel. It is the people who want to change his words that need help.

David Cranmer said...

Oscar, Once it becomes public domain all bets are off. Though changing words I didn't think was allowed. Something I will look into.

Patti, I couldn't have said it better myself. I will add that anyone that knows Twain's progressive championing of civil rights find this all nonsense.