Tuesday, 22 May 2012

LETTERS OF NOTE: So It Goes... Mark Twain's Turn

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I've recently posted a couple of blogs, courtesy of Letters of Note, about authors having their works banned from circulation in schools for totally absurd reactions. First we had Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, which was pulled for its "obscene language". Then then was Harper Lee, whose seminal novel To Kill A Mockingbird was accused, quite preposterously, of being "immoral."

This time it's the turn of the master Mark Twain. In 1905 he received a letter from Asa Don Dickinson, from Brooklyn Public Library, after the "superintendent of the children's department" ordered him to remove all copies of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn due to their characters' "courseness, deceitfulness and mischievous practices." Even for the time their comments sound ridiculous, especially when coarseness is defined by Huckleberry Finn saying "sweat" instead of "perspiration".

 
The whole text of Dickinson's letter and Twain's typically sarcastic reply can be read here.

Some time in the near-future I'll be posting a blog about the upcoming book of Letters of Note, which will contain a fair bit of the material I've published on here. Watch this space!

Daniel

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