Past Event

What is a word worth?

From New edition of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ to lose the ‘n’ word by Keith Staskiewicz

What is a word worth? 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—I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. 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. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”

Questions for Consideration

What is problematic about replacing the “n-word” to “slave” and “Injun” to “Indian” in the Adventures of Huckberry Finn? What are possible benefits? How might this change take away from the nature and intention of the book? Is this an attempt to sanitize American culture and what are potential intended and unintended consequences? 

Want to learn more?

A case for censoring Huck Finn

Censorship of ‘Huck Finn’ tasteless but not mandatory

To tweak or not to tweak a literary classic: Pro-censor

Letter: Censoring Huck Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…through censorship!

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