Mon, 24 Oct 1994 17:05:00 -0400
If I may, I would like to throw out a concern that seems to have escaped the
discussion of whether Twain wrote a racist tract in Huck Finn. People I know
read Mencken for years and thoroughly enjoyed what they read and found great
merit in it.
Once Mencken's diaries were published, about three quarters of these people
were horrified to find that he had an anti-semitic streak that was hardly
concealed. Suddenly, Mencken's work, to these people, at least, had no
Is it not time we ask ourselves not whether Huck Finn is racist, but whether
the book is a valuable social and literary document?
Unfortunately, like the Bible, this book seems to be open to the
interpretation that best suits the interpreter's needs.