Huckleberry Finn as Idol and Target

The Functions of Criticism in Our Time

Author: Jonathan Arac

Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press

ISBN: 9780299155339

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 264

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If racially offensive epithets are banned on CNN air time and in the pages of USA Today, Jonathan Arac asks, shouldn’t a fair hearing be given to those who protest their use in an eighth-grade classroom? Placing Mark Twain’s 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 America’s most beloved book, assigned in schools more than any other work because it is considered both the “quintessential American novel” and “an important weapon against racism.” But when some parents, students, and teachers have condemned the book’s repeated use of the word “nigger,” 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 Twain’s novel from a popular “boy’s book” to a central document of American culture. Huck’s 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 novel’s setting in the 1840s, the period in the 1880s when Twain wrote and published the book, and the post–World 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, Arac’s book is trenchant, lucid, and timely.
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American Superrealism

Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s

Author: Jonathan Veitch

Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press

ISBN: 9780299157036

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 200

View: 873

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Nathanael West has been hailed as “an apocalyptic writer,” “a writer on the left,” and “a precursor to postmodernism.” But until now no critic has succeeded in fully engaging West’s distinctive method of negation. In American Superrealism, Jonathan Veitch examines West’s letters, short stories, screenplays and novels—some of which are discussed here for the first time—as well as West’s collaboration with William Carlos Williams during their tenure as the editors of Contact. Locating West in a lively, American avant-garde tradition that stretches from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Veitch explores the possibilities and limitations of dada and surrealism—the use of readymades, scatalogical humor, human machines, “exquisite corpses”—as modes of social criticism. American Superrealism offers what is surely the definitive study of West, as well as a provocative analysis that reveals the issue of representation as the central concern of Depression-era America.
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Knowledge in the Making

Academic Freedom and Free Speech in America's Schools and Universities

Author: Joan DelFattore

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300168519

Category: Education

Page: 352

View: 5059

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How free are students and teachers to express unpopular ideas in public schools and universities? Not free enough, Joan DelFattore suggests. Wading without hesitation into some of the most contentious issues of our times, she investigates battles over a wide range of topics that have fractured school and university communities—homosexuality-themed children's books, research on race-based intelligence, the teaching of evolution, the regulation of hate speech, and more—and with her usual evenhanded approach offers insights supported by theory and by practical expertise. Two key questions arise: What ideas should schools and universities teach? And what rights do teachers and students have to disagree with those ideas? The answers are not the same for K–12 schools as they are for public universities. But far from drawing a bright line between them, DelFattore suggests that we must consider public education as a whole to determine how—and how successfully—it deals with conflicting views. When expert opinion clashes with popular belief, which should prevail? How much independence should K–12 teachers have? How do we foster the cutting-edge research that makes America a world leader in higher education? What are the free-speech rights of students? This uniquely accessible and balanced discussion deserves the full attention of everyone concerned with academic goals and agendas in our schools.
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Racism

A Selected Bibliography

Author: Albert J. Wheeler

Publisher: Nova Publishers

ISBN: 9781594544798

Category: History

Page: 263

View: 683

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Of all mankinds' vices, racism is one of the most pervasive and stubborn. Success in overcoming racism has been achieved from time to time, but victories have been limited thus far because mankind has focused on personal economic gain or power grabs ignoring generosity of the soul. This bibliography brings together the literature.
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A Companion to Mark Twain

Author: Peter Messent,Louis J. Budd

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1405152192

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 592

View: 3753

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This broad-ranging companion brings together respected American and European critics and a number of up-and-coming scholars to provide an overview of Twain, his background, his writings, and his place in American literary history. One of the most broad-ranging volumes to appear on Mark Twain in recent years Brings together respected Twain critics and a number of younger scholars in the field to provide an overview of this central figure in American literature Places special emphasis on the ways in which Twain's works remain both relevant and important for a twenty-first century audience A concluding essay evaluates the changing landscape of Twain criticism
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ESQ

A Journal of the American Renaissance

Author: N.A

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: American literature

Page: N.A

View: 7807

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