A couple of observations.
About what the present controversy means for *Huck Finn. *The work will
stand despite any and all attempts to change some readers' relationship to
it. Not everyone will embrace the book or its author. And that's ok. No
writer worth his or her salt expects universal acclaim. And Twain knew the
risks, both within his own time and in regard to his legacy. Some
perspective is in order. In a very real way we react differently to the
book than Twain's contemporaries. That is how it should be. What we need
to do is take a collective breath and recognize that change is inherent in
any culture's relationship to its writers and their work. This too shall
About the question of a "dean" of Twain scholars. We do all of ourselves a
disservice if we think that it's necessary to crown any one person the
"dean" of our field. Let's be adult and stay clear of these kinds of titles
and honors. The work done by any number of individuals stands in strong
relief -- and all of our work is, in a genuine sense, collaborative. And
let's also be clear -- Alan chose to do this work. The work IS his
explanation. There is nothing more to be said. Besides, if you have read
the introduction to his edition or seen any of the interviews that he has
done, there is a clarity in his position. We may disagree with it. We may
want his position to be different. But it's there in the work. And let's
stop being disappointed in an individual because he has taken a different
scholarly path and let's stop thinking that his is now an apostate. Accept
this. And move on.
On Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM, Harold Bush <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Folks; I'm still working through the implications of all this about AHF,
> but can now throw in a few cents -- sitting here in LA and waiting for the
> book exhibit to open (it was NOT open yesterday, for some unexplained
> I begin with an anecdote about Ted Williams -- who, when he passed, was
> considered the "greatest living ballplayer." Immediately the debate
> about who was his logical replacement. Was it Warren Spahn? Willie Mays?
> Henry Aaron??? or (gasp!) a pitcher -- Bob Gibson? Bob Feller (who just
> died a few months ago)??
> Anyway, yes-- I do have a point. It seems strange, even uncanny, that this
> debate is timed just after the passing of Lou Budd, our own "best
> ballplayer," by many accounts. Because in my view, there are just a few
> other special scholars whose name I would utter as a potential new "dean"
> our craft.
> One of them is Alan Gribben. I admit I was very surprised to hear that he
> was behind this new project. But for now, and with all my reservations
> about what this brouhaha entails -- I'd like to give Alan a little leeway
> here, and I also think I'd like to speak on his behalf as one of the
> and most knowledgeable Twain scholars. There have been a few (vague)
> comments on here directed at Alan that approached the line between fair and
> mean, and that is very unfortunate.
> I do have reservations about this new, edited (bowdlerized?) text -- but
> Alan's credentials are impeccable and his character is well known to all of
> us. I guess I'd mostly like to corner him and hear his explanation,
> I'm sure he has one.
> Harold K. Bush, Ph.D
> Professor of English
> Saint Louis University
> St. Louis, MO 63108
> 314-977-3616 (w); 314-771-6795 (h)
Michael J. Kiskis
Leonard Tydings Grant Professor of American Literature
One Park Place
Elmira, NY 14901