How to diversify the classics. For real. | OUPblog

Another way to rethink the classics: Put them in dialogue with works by authors of color. To counter the allegation in the final third of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) that enslavement is one big joke, booksellers could create a display pairing Mark Twain’s novel with Julius Lester’s To Be a Slave (1968), where readers will find first-hand accounts of living quarters “more fit for animals than human beings,” mothers who killed their own children rather than allowing them to be sold, and ways that the enslaved resisted their white jailors. Or they could pair Twain with speculative works that render with precision the physical and psychic traumas of slavery: Zetta Elliott’s A Wish After Midnight (2010), Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979) and its recent graphic-novel adaptation (2017).
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