History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn II

Historical study reveals twists in the human journey. Consider the continuing controversy over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The publication of Huckleberry Finn was greeted with howls of derision by readers and institutions accustomed to the Romantic style of narrative. The author, Mark Twain, was a devotee of literary Realism, a movement within American and European literature that emerged after the Civil War and extended into the twentieth century. It may be defined as “the faithful representation of reality.” Authors such as William James, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Twain attempted in their writings to describe the lives and language of their characters as they really were. By the middle of the twentieth Huckleberry Finn was being hailed as a milestone in American literary progress.

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History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn I

Lead: Historical study often reveals twists in the human journey. Consider a literary turning point: Samuel Clemens’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Mark Twain’s epic novel of journey and redemption started in dispute and has remained controversial into the 21st Century. The story of Huck Finn, the slave Jim, and the fascinating cast of characters they encountered along their way down the Mississippi was greeted with howls of priggish denunciation when it was first published. “Hackwork,” “rubbish,” “coarse” were just a few expletives directed toward the book. The Concord Massachusetts Public Library called it more suited to “slums than to…respectable people.”

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Peggy Marsh (Mitchell) Writes Her Book: Gone with The Wind

Lead: In the late 1930s a young woman from Georgia won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was her only book. She called it Another Day.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Peggy Marsh was an unreconstructed Southerner and held the Old South and its legends almost in reverence. She felt that twentieth-century generations were losing touch with the old ways and that the culture she revered was becoming all but lost. In the mid-1920s she resolved to write a book, a novel that would tell the story of the Old South.

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Jamestown Journey: Lincoln’s Vision of America’s Past and Future I

Lead: In two memorable speeches President Abraham Lincoln sketched out his vision of America’s storied past and brightening future.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: In the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural, the wartime President articulated the pain of an America beset by its own demons of pride and conflict, but then articulated the pathway to redemption.

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Jamestown Journey: Lincoln’s Vision of America’s Past and Future III

Lead: In deeply profound, near theological terms, Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural anchors the hope of America’s future in malice toward none.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: After describing the gloom and skepticism surrounding his first inaugural, Lincoln launches into the meat of the matter. The war was fought to resolve the great “interest” of slavery which he said all knew was, somehow, its cause. In many ways, the speech was a revelation of his own reluctance and struggle to see the purpose of the war as America’s unfinished business. Slowing, fitfully he had come to see its purpose as bringing freedom to the African and that as a divinely inspired mission.

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Jamestown Journey: Lincoln’s Vision of America’s Past and Future II

Lead: In his Second Inaugural, Abraham Lincoln gently celebrated the emerging Union triumph and then pointed the way to national reconciliation.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: In the despairing summer of 1864 President Lincoln had been resolved to serving only a single term. The horrendous casualties of the Wilderness Campaign had sent northern public morale spiraling downward. The fall of Atlanta in September, however, restored national confidence in Lincoln’s leadership and he was re-elected with overwhelming numbers in the Electoral College. This broad-based support and the slowly constricting Union clamp on the Confederacy’s options pointed to the imminent end of the war.

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Emma Lazarus & The Statue of Liberty

Lead: At first reluctant, Emma Lazarus gave in and wrote the words that helped build the symbol of America's welcome.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The money wasn't coming in and Joseph Pulitzer was becoming very frustrated. Publisher of the New York World, a Hungarian immigrant who fought in the Civil War, Pulitzer had taken, as his personal crusade, the task of raising money to build the pedestal on which the colossus was to rest. The arrangement was that France would supply the statue if the United States would build the base. Work in Paris was on schedule but in America, people did not seem to be very concerned.

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History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn II

Lead: Historical study reveals twists in the human journey. Consider the continuing controversy over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The publication of Huckleberry Finn was greeted with howls of derision by readers and institutions accustomed to the Romantic style of narrative. The author, Mark Twain, was a devotee of literary Realism, a movement within American and European literature that emerged after the Civil War and extended into the twentieth century. It may be defined as “the faithful representation of reality.” Authors such as William James, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Twain attempted in their writings to describe the lives and language of their characters as they really were. By the middle of the twentieth Huckleberry Finn was being hailed as a milestone in American literary progress.

Read more →