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Making Mark Twain Work in the Classroom

By
James S. Leonard
James S. Leonard

James S. Leonard is Professor of English at The Citadel. He is coauthor of The Fluent Mundo: Wallace Stevens and the Structure of Reality and coeditor of Satire or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn, also published by Duke University Press.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-9722-9
Publication date:
1999

How does one teach Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, a book as controversial as it is central to the American literary canon? This collection of essays edited by James S. Leonard offers practical classroom methods for instructors dealing with the racism, the casual violence, and the role of women, as well as with structural and thematic discrepancies in the works of Mark Twain.

The essays in Making Mark Twain Work in the Classroom reaffirm the importance of Twain in the American literature curriculum from high school through graduate study. Addressing slavery and race, gender, class, religion, language and ebonics, Americanism, and textual issues of interest to instructors and their students, the contributors offer guidance derived from their own demographically diverse classroom experiences. Although some essays focus on such works as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Innocents Abroad, most discuss the hotly debated Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, viewed alternately in this volume as a comic masterpiece or as evidence of Twain’s growing pessimism—but always as an effective teaching tool.

By placing Twain’s work within the context of nineteenth-century American literature and culture, Making Mark Twain Work in the Classroom will interest all instructors of American literature. It will also provoke debate among Americanists and those concerned with issues of race, class, and gender as they are represented in literature.

Contributors. Joseph A. Alvarez, Lawrence I. Berkove, Anthony J. Berret, S.J., Wesley Britton, Louis J. Budd, James E. Caron, Everett Carter, Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua, Pascal Covici Jr., Beverly R. David, Victor Doyno, Dennis W. Eddings, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, S. D. Kapoor, Michael J. Kiskis, James S. Leonard, Victoria Thorpe Miller, Stan Poole, Tom Reigstad, David E. E. Sloane, David Tomlinson

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