Many critics consider Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) Mark Twain’s masterpiece and count it among the greatest of American novels, but the book has been banned and criticized for its coarseness, irreverence, use of dialect, confused ending and racism. Far fewer readers have encountered Mark Twain’s 1894 novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, but some critics have called it “an unrecognized classic” and “one of the most honest books in our literature.” We will read these two books to see what they tell us about the persistent themes in Twain’s work and in American literature. Required texts: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, ISBN-13: 978-0486280615; Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain, ISBN-13: 978-0486408859. Both are available at no cost in online editions.
Catherine Frank (email@example.com) is executive director of OLLI at UNC Asheville and holds three degrees in English from UNC Chapel Hill.