Posted on January 9, 2019 at 12:21 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Readers who have cringed upon finding decidedly dated passages in classic novels have a new balm for the soul.
In the New York Times, novelist Brian Morton discusses a college student who gave up on Edith Wharton because of anti-Semitism in her writing.
The student’s sentiments weren’t a surprise to Morton, who also directs Sarah Lawrence College’s writing program; the subject changed to time machines in literature instead.
And that led Morton to a realization: that books are time machines, yes, but not one that transports the author to us; it’s the other way around.
You don’t have to think of, say, the n-word in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as being invited into our world, let alone embraced in it.
Rather, we as readers have been sent to a time when that careless usage was a cruel reality — one that we can and should fight to keep out of modern times.
Read Morton’s essay in the Times here.