Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'll Be your Huckleberry...

Current read: Home for the Holidays, by Debbie Macomber

One of the greatest books of all time, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published on this date in 1885 in Canada and England. It wasn't released for two months in the United States and has been in trouble ever since.

Ernest Hemingway declared it the "one book" from which "all modern American literature" came. Too true. Heretofore, all great works by American authors had bitten off from European counterparts. But this one, crammed full of local color, written in the regional dialogue of the time (which makes it the bane of students), showcasing a true if nasty art of American culture (slavery), set on a river like none other in the world, is indeed the first and the best. Contemporary critics and scholars have treated it as one of the greatest American works of art.
Why is in trouble? Well, mostly the whiners are people who haven't read it. They don't like some of the common terms of the time--which are not used as derogatory in the book. (Besides, why do females get to be called bitches and ho's and nobody seems to sense a way double standard?)

Here's to you, Samuel Langhorne Clemens!

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