0 Houghton professor Peter Meilaender, dean of religion, humanities and global studies and professor of political science.

Peter Meilaender Published by National Review Online

May 31, 2024

National Review Online, an American editorial magazine focusing on news and commentary pieces on political, social and cultural affairs, has recently published a book review by Peter Meilaender, dean of religion, humanities and global studies and professor of political science. In his insightful piece, Meilaender explores the new novel, James, written by Percival Everett. The novel revisits the American classic, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, offering a fresh retelling from the perspective of Jim, the runaway slave.

The review, titled “Huck Finn Revisited,” delves into Mark Twain’s iconic novel and explores its themes of race, morality and the human condition. Meilaender brings his expertise to the forefront as he analyzes the greater realism of this retelling compared to its original.

“The shift from Huck’s to Jim’s perspective, however, enables Everett to sharpen Twain’s critique, lifting it from the level of satire to that of jeremiad (albeit a secular one). The youthful, uneducated voice of Twain’s white protagonist, with his naïve efforts to understand the adult world, was well suited to exposing the hypocrisy of American ideals in the face of racism. But the older voice of the black slave Jim cuts deeper, revealing the full horror of chattel slavery.”

Read the full review