Overview

Though one of America?s best known and loved novels, Mark Twain?s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been the object of fierce controversy because of its racist language and reliance on racial stereotypes. This collection of fifteen essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examines the novel?s racist elements and assesses the degree to which Twain?s ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism.
Ranging from the laudatory...
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Satire or Evasion?: Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn

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Overview

Though one of America’s best known and loved novels, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been the object of fierce controversy because of its racist language and reliance on racial stereotypes. This collection of fifteen essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examines the novel’s racist elements and assesses the degree to which Twain’s ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism.
Ranging from the laudatory to the openly hostile, these essays include personal impressions of Huckleberry Finn, descriptions of classroom experience with the book, evaluations of its ironic and allegorical aspects, explorations of its nineteenth-century context, and appraisal of its effects on twentieth-century African American writers. Among the issues the authors contend with are Twain’s pervasive use of the word “nigger,” his portrayal of the slave Jim according to the conventions of the minstrel show “darky,” and the thematic chaos created by the “evasion” depicted in the novel’s final chapters.
Sure to provoke thought and stir debate, Satire or Evasion? provides a variety of new perspectives on one of this country’s most troubling classics.

Contributors. Richard K. Barksdale, Bernard W. Bell, Mary Kemp Davis, Peaches M. Henry, Betty Harris Jones, Rhett S. Jones, Julius Lester, Donnarae MacCann, Charles H. Nichols, Charles H. Nilon, Arnold Rampersad, David L. Smith, Carmen Dubryan, John H. Wallace, Kenny Jackson Williams, Fredrick Woodard

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Focused less on Huck than on the black slave Jim, these 15 contemporary essays, representing various points on the spectrum between the views of Twain's novel as a racist document and as an indictment of racism, offer proof that, after 106 years, this American classic is still a live wire. Nearly all the essays try to furnish a historical and biographical context, and although some seem based on very selective readings of the work, the collection is valuable in forcing the white reader to re-examine Twain's familiar classic from a different point of view. There is an extensive bibliography.-- Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, Mo.
Booknews
Ranging from the laudatory to the openly hostile, 15 essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examine the novel's racist elements and assess the degree to which Twain's ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822381716
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 11/26/1991
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 786,185
  • File size: 758 KB

Meet the Author

James S. Leonard is Professor of English at The Citadel.

Thomas Tenney

Thadious M. Davis is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents


Contents

Acknowledgments


Introduction: The Controversy over Huckleberry Finn
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