Everybody's talking about Huckleberry Finn and the n-word controversy, so I weighed in too. The full article is over at AOL News, and it covers both the bowdlerization of Huck by NewSouth Books and the problems with Twain's new Autobiography. Here's a sample...
Of course Gribbon and the NewSouthers have a few other tricks up their editorial sleeves, including the abolition of the n-word. It has to go, according to Gribbon's introduction, because "This editor gradually reached the conclusion that an epithet-free edition of Twain’s books is needed today."
One might be tempted to ask Mr. Gribbon, either behind his old-fashioned "this editor" mask or straight out, "Needed by whom?" By sensitive minds requiring protection from the cruelties of history? By young readers who will be as disoriented by the attachment of the juvenile Tom to the mature Huck as they will be when they finally encounter the original texts and demand to know what villain has installed all of that harsh language while they weren't looking? Or perhaps by NewSouth itself, looking to sell their modest print run to some school district or other? There are needs, and then there are needs.
I'd planned to keep my mouth shut, frankly, but when Red Room's Gina Misiroglu offered to put me in touch with the AOL people it started seeming like a good idea after all. Who could blame me?
Causes Jon Clinch Supports
The Mark Twain House and Museum