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The Forbidden Word
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Gardners Books
Publication date October 12, 2012
Pages 146
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9781498215602
ISBN-10 1498215602
Original list price $34.60
Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description: Description: This book is about a Black man's reading of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the first time while in graduate school. The story captures his emotional experience with Twain's use of the racial epithet "nigger" more than 211 times throughout the book. The visceral response to hearing the word verbalized by whites with Twain's permission, regardless of irony or satire, is a central theme of this personal history/memoir. The situation is a seminar in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, where the Civil War is still being fought on many levels. The story is the complication of race as a topic of public discussion and the role the word nigger plays in postmodern society especially among Blacks and Hip-Hop music. The use of the word is a sign of evil both historically and culturally and cannot be flipped in a way that erases its history and meaning. It is also a reflection on language and culture. Endorsements: "Harris has written a courageous memoir that confronts the long debate over Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the use of the n-word. Marshaling critics from Hegel to bell hooks, and calling on a family history of resistance, Harris challenges his instructor and classmates, and in turn inspires his readers to redress the long history of American racism and white supremacy bound up with the epithet." --Mark Sanders, Professor of English, Emory University "Harris combines the passion and power of personal experience with a masterful display of historical and literary criticism, and the finished product is a book that goes beyond Twain's painfully derogatory stereotypes, racial epithets, and the persistent myths to expose race as the enduring and central dilemma of the American experience. In compelling terms, Harris helps us understand why our claims of 'a post-racial society' remain open to serious question and debate." --Lewis V. Baldwin, Professor of Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University "The Forbidden Word is an elegant, heartfelt rumination on America's crucible of race. Engaging, beautifully crafted, and analytically powerful, it masterfully employs Twain's Huck Finn as both a literal and figurative representation of the nation's never-ending racial drama. By blending the narrative voice of a memoirist and the sharp insights of a true scholar, Harris achieves a remarkable literary triumph." --Tim Wise, author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son About the Contributor(s): James Henry Harris, a philosophical theologian, social scientist, and culture critic, holds graduate degrees in Urban Studies, humanities (history and philosophy), English Literature, theology, ethics, and homiletics. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and United Theological Seminary. Author of many books including The Word Made Plain (2004), The Courage to Lead (2001), Preaching Liberation (1996), and Pastoral Theology (1991), he is professor of preaching and theology at Virginia Union University and pastor of Second Baptist Church, both in Richmond, VA.

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