Thursday, May 12, 2011

Huck Finn Illustrations

Don't know if any of you are familiar with the work of classic British author/illustrator Edward Ardizzone: I have a copy of Eleanor Farjeon's The Little Bookroom that he illustrated, for example.

Well, the daughter of publisher Heinemann's founder recently discovered illustrations for an edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that Ardizzone had done tucked away inside her father's desk. The artwork is going to be auctioned off. Here's a sample, and follow the link to see more.

I am currently reading Huck Finn with one of my students who is studying both U.S. History and American Literature. We were talking about how ironic it is that the book is considered racist by some because of its (historical) use of the N-word, when it is actually a subtly beautiful anti-racism story. (We are substituting for the word as appropriate when we read the book aloud.)

Plus Huck is just a rip-rousing story, and I'm laughing all over again about the 15-year-old girl who drew all those morbid pictures, "Alas"!


Jennifer Morian Frye said...

Love Huck, and I thought it was a wonderful story and example of anti-racism too. The word is just, as you say historically accurate, sadly. To read in context is one thing, to use as part of my everyday vocabulary, unthinkable. : )
(catching up on my blog reading is wonderful, but exhausting.....I've missed it so much though!)

Anonymous said...

Have I ever mentioned to you that the character of Huck Finn was based on one of my distant relations? At least, he had my mother's maiden name and her family DID live out in Missouri back then. It hasn't been CONFIRMED through proper geneology, but it's an urban legend I have clung to with relish. Even though this means I'm also distantly related to Huck's DAD by default. The story is pure fiction, incidentally, just the character is based on one of Sam Clemens' childhood friends. He apparently grew up to be a judge in Montana or something, so not bad, considering.

Kate Coombs said...

Amy--How cool is that? Only, a judge? Heehee.

Kate Coombs said...

Jennifer--Your message popped up a week late for some reason! Anyway, I find the history of that word to be remarkably poignant in the sense that I'm happy we've come so far, but look how it used to be, and not so very long ago.