Been There Before: What Mark Twain and Huck Finn Really Teach Us About Race, Children, and America
A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of Huckleberry Finn, which turns on its head everything we thought we knew about America’s favorite icon of childhood. In Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers... show more
A provocative, exuberant, and deeply researched investigation into Mark Twain’s writing of Huckleberry Finn, which turns on its head everything we thought we knew about America’s favorite icon of childhood.
In Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have been misunderstanding Huckleberry Finn for decades. Twain’s masterpiece, which still sells tens of thousands of copies each year and is taught more than any other American classic, is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues convincingly it is neither. Instead, Huck Finn was written at a time when Americans were nervous about youth violence and “uncivilized” bad boys, and a debate was raging about education, popular culture, and responsible parenting — casting Huck’s now-celebrated “freedom” in a very different and very modern light. On issues of race, on the other hand, Twain’s lifelong fascination with minstrel shows and black culture inspired him to write a book not about civil rights, but about race’s role in entertainment and commerce, the same features upon which much of our own modern consumer culture is also grounded. In Levy’s vision, Huck Finn has more to say about contemporary children and race that we have ever imagined—if we are willing to hear it.
An eye-opening, groundbreaking exploration of the character and psyche of Mark Twain as he was writing his most famous novel, Huck Finn’s America brings the past to vivid, surprising life, and offers a persuasive—and controversial—argument for why this American classic deserves to be understood anew.
Publish date: 01-08-2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages no: 304
Edition language: English
, Literary Criticism
, Books About Books
, American History
Mark Twain and the Era that Shaped His MasterpieceBy Andrew LevyISBN: 9781439186961Publisher: Simon & SchusterPublication Date: 01/06/2015 Format: OtherMy Rating: 4 Stars A special thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Andrew Levy’s Huck Finn's ...