Making Mark Twain safe for idiots

As you’ve probably heard, there’s a new edition of Huckleberry Finn in which the Bad Word “nigger” has been piously replaced with “slave.” In case you haven’t heard, here’s the recent NYTimes article about it–and, below, some smart responses to that wondrously bone-headed project.

MCM

Publisher Tinkers With Twain
By JULIE BOSMAN

A new edition of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is missing something.

Throughout the book – 219 times in all – the word “nigger” is replaced by “slave,” a substitution that was made by NewSouth Books, a publisher based in Alabama, which plans to release the edition in February.

Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, approached the publisher with the idea in July. Mr. Gribben said Tuesday that he had been teaching Mark Twain for decades and always hesitated before reading aloud the common racial epithet, which is used liberally in the book, a reflection of social attitudes in the mid-19th century.

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