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Mark Twain‘s famous characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn could star in a steampunk sequel to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. ABC has ordered a script for the possible show titled Finn & Sawyer.
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop: “The drama hails from Detroit 1-8-7 duo Jason Richman and David Zabel and is described as an adventure-themed reinvention that revolves around the two famed literary characters who re-meet as young men in their 20s and form an investigative firm in a bustling and steampunk New Orleans.”
If you want to read Twain’s most famous novels, visit our Free eBook Flowchart to download free copies of the digital books. What is steampunk, you may ask? Follow this link to find out more about the genre. (E. W. Kemble illustration via the 1884 edition of Huckleberry Finn; link via i09)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Political Cartoon by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner
There are no less than 454 news stories for today alone on the intended release of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
in a new edition in which the words “nigger,” "Injun," and "half-breed" are replaced with the more politically correct "slave," "Indian," and "half-blood." NewSouth Books, an Alabama Publisher, has drawn criticism from many fronts and has opened up debate that is ongoing and passionate.
Is this rewriting history, taking a revisionist approach, or is it making a great piece of American literature accessible to students who would otherwise not be able to study this book because schools are reluctant to use it?
The Rhode Show (Fox Providence) has done an excellent job of outlining what the buzz is all about.
One thing that all sides seem to agree on is that the word "nigger" makes us uncomfortable. Some scholars defend Twain's language, believing that his readers should feel uncomfortable since it shines a light on the historic treatment of blacks. People differ on whether the word should be used if it is within its historical context or whether it should be removed to soothe modern sensibilities. Professor Alan Gribben, a Twain scholar and editor of the NewSouth edition believes he is helping schools to be able to get this classic book back into the curriculum. According to Publishers Weekly
, Twain himself defined a classic as "a book which people praise and don't read."
Gribben believes that the offensive "n-word" is causing a generation of school children to be deprived of this important American book and that the sanitized edition would make it easier for parents and teachers to accept.However Twain was angry even when changes in punctuation were made by an editor. Below is the forward from the original Huckleberry Finn.
IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary ‘Pike County’ dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a hap- hazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. I make this explanation for the reason that without it many
By: Ar writing man,
Yep, we had Thanksgiving at our house last week, but we didn't have no turkey. Shoot, down at Echol's Grocery, them turkeys cost nearly $5.00. Momma had me checking all week, when I gathered eggs, to see which one of them old hens wasn't laying. I finally picked out one and after me and daddy cleaned and dressed it, momma roasted that old hen up, and we played like it was one of the pilgrim turkeys. That chicken was kinda tough, but momma's cornbread dressing was, as usual, just plain outta sight. Course, momma had to get that book out and read all about them Indians and Pilgrims having the first Thanksgiving, and then she made everybody say how thankful we was, but you know, this year I really was thankful. Heck, me and John Clayton got into the worst mess way down in Flat Creek Swamp that you've ever heard of. I'll tell you about it sometime.
After dinner was over me and daddy listened to Walter Winchell, that famous broadcaster, give the war news, and then I hightailed it down to Flat Creek Swamp. That's my favorite place in the whole wide world to go. You never know what your gonna find down there. Well, I wasn't disapointed none, but I did learn me a real good lesson. Don't poke no stick in a hollow log unless you can see what your a-poking. Heck, we were just walking along when Sniffer let out a grow and started barking at the end of this big log. I figured it was a rabbit or some old possum, so I cut me a twisting stick to see if I could twist the end around in its fur and pull it out. I stuck that stick in the hollow log, started poking and twisting it, and I heard something, but it didn't sound like no rabbit, coon, or possum. Sounded kinda like a buzz-saw. Me and Sniffer got real close to the end of the log and Sniffer was just going dog crazy, when whossssh, out of that log came thousands and thousands of yellow jacket wasps. (Well, it seemed like thousands). I jumped back and fell over Sniffer, and before we could get up and run, them yellow jackets had us. I guess it was funny if it didn't happen to you, but I've got stings all over my head and that stupid Sniffer's nose is twice as big as it usually is. Shoot, Flat Creek Swamp...stuff always happens there...If I'm lyin' I'm dyin.'
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What are you doing during lunch tomorrow? If it involves sitting at your desk eating a sandwich consider joining us in Bryant Park. Oxford University Press has teamed up with the Bryant Park Reading Room to host a FREE discussion of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer led by John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine and author, most recently, of You Can’t be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America. In the blog post after the break MacArthur introduces us to the relationship between Harper’s and Mark Twain.
So be sure to come to the Bryant Park Reading Room (northern edge of the park), Tuesday, July 21st from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The rain venue (don’t worry we are doing our best no-rain dances) is The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen Building, 20 West 44th Street. Sign up in advance and receive a FREE copy of the Oxford World’s Classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (offer is limited while supply lasts).
The histories of Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Harper’s Magazine are so intimately linked, so important to the fabric of the magazine, that I talk about Twain and Howells around the office as if they were still alive. The other day I told a staff meeting that as long as I was running Harper’s, it would remain a literary magazine that also publishes journalism — not the other way around — because of Howells’s and Twain’s ever-present legacy.
Howells met Twain in 1869, three years after Twain had published his first long narrative in Harper’s, “43 Days in an Open Boat.” As the future literary editor of Harper’s recalled, “At the time of our first meeting…Clemens (as I must call him instead of Mark Twain, which seemed always somehow to mask him from my personal sense) was wearing a sealskin coat, with the fur out, in the satisfaction of a caprice, or the love of strong effect which he was apt to indulge through life.” It’s no coincidence that for our special 150th anniversary issue in 2000, we constructed a cover photo of Twain in his dandy suit facing Tom Wolfe in his dandy suit.
Clemens and Howells became good friends and in 1875 the genius from Hannibal asked Howells to read the manuscript of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. “I am glad to remember that I thoroughly liked The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Howells wrote, “and said so with every possible amplification. Very likely, I also made my suggestions for its improvement; I could not have been a real critic without that; and I have no doubt they were gratefully accepted and, I hope, never acted upon.” Howells was underrating his influence on Twain, who penned over 80 pieces for Harper’s. As a critic and a fine novelist in his own right, Howells was correct — Tom Sawyer is a great American novel. Indeed, not everyone agrees that it’s any less of an achievement than the more widely acclaimed (at least in serious literary circles) Huckleberry Finn. I’m looking forward to talking about the book next week and finding out the answer to a number of questions: for example, precisely how old is Tom Sawyer? I assume the Twain scholars in the audience will enlighten me on this and other matters.
A couple of days ago, I was replenishing the Banned and Challenged Book display at the library and saw a new copy of Tom Sawyer. I happily dropped it down, satisfied that a nicely illustrated paperback had a good chance of going out. Yesterday, I happened to pick it up and that's when I noticed that it was ABRIDGED!
I had a sudden flashback to my teaching career (as a student teacher) when I was told to give the children bits and pieces of Tom Sawyer with canned questions ready to mark from the key in the back of the book. The stories had had anything remotely offensive removed from them and the "n-word" was gone. I couldn't bear to read Tom Sawyer with the children without talking about the issue of racism. I tried to put the book into a context for them.
So, the dilemma for me now is: Should this "whitewashed" version, now found in the library, catalogued, and all ready to go be left in the collection. Although it indicates that it is abridged, Mark Twain's name is prominent on the cover and there is little indication of what the editor has done. Is this a true representation of the book written by Mark Twain?
I'm sure it was purchased by accident. Should it remain in the collection? What do you think?
Download the full, authentic version of Tom Sawyer at Project Gutenberg.
I believe the publisher of the "safe" book is Simon and Schuster and they have also issued a "safe" Curriculum Guide for Tom Sawyer, which interestingly enough deals with issues of depictions of masculinity and femininity, the tension between childhood and adulthood, and of diction and slang and how they can be clues to understanding the characters. No mention of race or colour is discussed.
The DesMoines Register reports that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is back in the classroom in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Teachers are not obliged to teach the book but they are not banned from teaching it either. The school district's purchase of 750 books has been approved.
Freedom to Read Poster 1984
Freedom to Read Week in Canada begins three weeks from now on February 25th. Watch for upcoming details of the Pelham Public Library's Banned Book Challenge and start to choose the banned and challenged books you will read from February to June. Find a banned book list at many links on the right side or download the Pelham Public Library's list. You can also search Library Thing or the Pelham Public Library's collection of challenged books and information on where and why they were banned by clicking on the LibraryThing button.