*According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will remove all instances of the n-word present in the text and replace it with “slave.”
The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun, an offensive term for Indian/Native American.
The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it.
“This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind,” said Gribben. “Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”
Including the table of contents, the slur appears 219 times in Finn.
Gribben has no illusions about the new edition’s potential for controversy.
“I’m hoping that people will welcome this new option, but I suspect that textual purists will be horrified,” he said. “Already, one professor told me that he is very disappointed that I was involved in this.”
Indeed, Twain scholar Thomas Wortham, at UCLA, compared Gribben to Thomas Bowdler (who published expurgated versions of Shakespeare for family reading), telling PW that “a book like Professor Gribben has imagined doesn’t challenge children [and their teachers] to ask, ‘Why would a child like Huck use such reprehensible language?’ “
Read the full Publisher’s Weekly article here.
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