I doubt if most college English teachers are interested in finding books
that are less combative. High school may be different. I am sure opinions
vary about teaching HUCK FINN in high schools; I believe it can be done
effectively and sensibly.
By the way, Aquinas and Augustine both apparently welcomed the inevitable
presence heretics within the confines of the church for one major
reason--their arguments, or their criticisms, sharpened the arguments of the
believers. As Proverbs puts it, "iron sharpens iron."
Thus, "Combat" is good for intellectual progress. That said, the approach
of Gerald Graff--"teaching the conflicts"--is a terrific way to teach the
Besides Leonard's book, I like very much Shelley Fisher Fishkin's defense of
teaching Huck throughout her book, LIGHTING OUT FOR THE
TERRITORY--especially the long section at the end, which has luminous praise
for the book from the top African American writers of the 20th century, such
as Ellison and Morrison.
Harold K. Bush