Huckleberry finn

The slave’s story: James, by Percival Everett, reviewed

Rereading The Adventures of Huckle-berry Finn can be a saddening experience. It’s not just the oft-repeated n-word that jolts, then pains, then twinges; it’s the ‘no sah’, ‘I’s agwyne to’ locutions of Huck’s companion, the runaway slave Jim. In retelling the celebrated adventure story in Jim’s own voice, Percival Everett upends the convention. James and his fellow slaves can speak perfectly good English between themselves. It’s only when white folks are around that they perform blackness. Whether two slaves out of the earshot of whites would discuss if a situation represents ‘an example of proleptic irony or dramatic irony’ is another matter. Huck Finn is one of the great voices

Is Mark Twain’s old age best forgotten?

Mark Twain conquered almost every challenge that came his way except old age. Living well into his seventies, he was a printer, an investigative journalist, a riverboat captain, a government functionary, a bestselling novelist, an imperialism-defying political essayist, a successful playwright and a devoted father and husband. He travelled the world giving lectures that made him many fortunes, which he often used to replenish the fortunes he lost from his madder and most poorly managed investment schemes, such as the Paige Compositor, a self-justifying printing press which worked briefly for a few days in 1894 and then, just as mysteriously, stopped. When Twain’s publishing house subsequently went bankrupt, he refused