The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck FinnIn 1885 the year of its US publication, a number of public libraries banned The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from their stacks. According to the American Library Association, it was the fifth most-frequently-challenged book in the United States in the 1990s. Despite strong arguments that the book supports positive racial themes, Huck Finn has been controversial from the beginning.  Last year NewSouth Books published a sanitized edition, effectively keeping this book in the news and on the minds of both those who have loved and hated this classic American book.  When was the last time you visited Huck Finn? Interested in learning more and sharing your ideas?

Join us next week for a panel discussion of this story that continues to both attract and repel members of our community. Does Huckleberry Finn belong in the literary canon and in our schools? What does it reveal about race relations, art and the power of language?

Guest panelists include Randy White, director of the Cardinal Stage production of Big River, Suparna Bose, Bloomington parent and Master's student at the IU School of Education, and Dr. Frederick L. McElroy Associate Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University.  The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, May 3 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium. 

Books Plus Discussion for May 2011

ImageBalmy May will soon be here. And on the very first of the month, Elizabeth will lead a discussion about an American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain's famous novel was first published in England in 1894, but still generates controversy to this day. Earlier this year, a scholar published an edited version that cleaned up some of the words, many of them based on race. The reaction was immediate and, on the whole, negative. Many people prefer the book the way Twain conceived and wrote it.

What have other writers said about Huck Finn? In 1935, F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Huckleberry Finn took the first journey back. He was the first to look back at the republic from the perspective of the west. His eyes were the first eyes that ever looked at us objectively that were not eyes from overseas. There were mountains at the frontier but he wanted more than mountains to look at with his restive eyes--he wanted to find out about men and how they lived together."

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called 'Huckleberry Finn'... All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."
-- Ernest Hemingway, "The Green Hills of Africa" (1934)

"It is Huck who gives the book style. The River gives the book its form. But for the River, the book might be only a sequence of adventures with a happy ending. A river, a very big and powerful river, is the only natural force that can wholly determine the course of human peregrination.... Thus the River makes the book a great book." --T.S. Eliot

For more information on this and other programs, please see below.

Books Plus meets the first Sunday of each month.
All are welcome. Join the discussion or simply come to listen.
No registration necessary. Drop in. 2 p.m., First Sundays Room 2B

Coming up:

June 5 -- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Discussion Leader: Jane Layman

July 10 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Discussion Leader: Wendy Rubin
**Please note the later date in July due to the holiday weekend**

August 7 -- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Discussion Leader: Elizabeth Gray

Reviews Subjects: