Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Either they're missing something, or I am.

My, my. Publisher New South, Inc. is releasing a new edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn that will remove the bucketload of racial slurs in Huckleberry Finn.

New South claims the novel "can be enjoyed deeply and authentically without those continual encounters with the hundreds of now-indefensible racial slurs", but in the very same press release they describe those same slurs as "pejorative racial labels that Twain employed in his effort to write realistically about social attitudes of the 1840s".

Uh, don't those statements seem contradictory? I can certainly understand and respect people's discomfort with Huckleberry Finn (and I'm no Twain fan myself, actually), but you can't just wipe something out and pretend it didn't happen—particularly not something so central to both the novel and its place in the annals of American literature.

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