If racially offensive epithets are banned on CNN air time and in the pages of USA Today, Jonathan Arac asks, shouldnat a fair hearing be given to those who protest their use in an eighth-grade classroom? Placing Mark Twainas comic masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn, in the context of long-standing American debates about race and culture, Jonathan Arac has written a work of scholarship in the service of citizenship. Huckleberry Finn, Arac points out, is Americaas most beloved book, assigned in schools more than any other work because it is considered both the aquintessential American novela and aan important weapon against racism.a But when some parents, students, and teachers have condemned the bookas repeated use of the word anigger, a their protests have been vehemently and often snidely countered by cultural authorities, whether in the universities or in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The paradoxical result, Arac contends, is to reinforce racist structures in our society and to make a sacred text of an important book that deserves thoughtful reading and criticism. Arac does not want to ban Huckleberry Finn, but to provide a context for fairer, fuller, and better-informed debates. Arac shows how, as the Cold War began and the Civil Rights movement took hold, the American critics Lionel Trilling, Henry Nash Smith, and Leo Marx transformed the public image of Twainas novel from a popular aboyas booka to a central document of American culture. Huckas feelings of brotherhood with the slave Jim, it was implied, represented all that was right and good in American culture and democracy. Drawing on writings by novelists, literary scholars, journalists, and historians, Arac revisits the era of the novelas setting in the 1840s, the period in the 1880s when Twain wrote and published the book, and the postaWorld War II era, to refute many deeply entrenched assumptions about Huckleberry Finn and its place in cultural history, both nationally and globally. Encompassing discussion of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Archie Bunker, James Baldwin, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, and Mark Fuhrman, Aracas book is trenchant, lucid, and timely.8 Nation, Race, and Beyond In the four decades since Leo Marxa#39;s essays on vernacular, no discussion of Twaina#39;s language has had ... I share her goal of respect for African American voices in public discussions of Huckleberry Finn, but I fear that her book is not having a good effect. ... a rallying point for movements to ban Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from our high schools, partakes of the privilege anyanbsp;...
|Title||:||Huckleberry Finn as Idol and Target|
|Publisher||:||Univ of Wisconsin Press - 1997-11-01|