Huck vs. Harriet: Historical Debates Over Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck vs. Harriet: Historical Debates Over Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851) and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) are books that have had a powerful impact on American culture that goes far beyond literary considerations. Both books have remained embroiled in controversy ever since their publication, in large part because of their treatment of race. Both books dramatized the South during slave times, depicting masters and slaves in ways that have been highly praised or bitterly deplored by historians, teachers, parents, and politicians. What were the intentions of the writers, and how did their novels reflect their attitudes towards racial difference during the times in which they lived? How do the changing receptions that readers have given their works reflect the pressures and historical realities of different times? What can we learn today from these works about racism, about the relationship between literature and culture, and about how to read and teach works that reflect a different time and place in our nation’s history?

Requirements: 
Lectern, microphone, VCR and monitor