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Thread: New Edition of Huckleberry Finn to Have All the Bad Words Removed

  1. #1
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default New Edition of Huckleberry Finn to Have All the Bad Words Removed

    An Auburn University professor, along with NewSouth Books, plans to release a new edition of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn with every instance of the word "nigger" replaced with "slave," hoping that will make the book more accessible.


    From Publisher's Weekly:
    Twain himself defined a "classic" as "a book which people praise and don't read." Rather than see Twain's most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the "n" word (as well as the "in" word, "Injun") by replacing it with the word "slave."


    "This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."


    The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with "slave" when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the "n" word ("My mother said it's only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people") and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. "My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it."
    So... great! I myself am working on a new edition of Othello in which the word "Moor" is replaced with "nice man."


    New Edition of Huckleberry Finn to Have All the Bad Words Removed



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  2. #2
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I remember reading this in school over 20 years ago. We had to get parent permission and maybe 2 out of the 10 black students opted out of reading. But if they do this with this book, where does it stop?

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    oh for fuck's sake!! why can't teachers just teach children that what was once an acceptable word no longer is? that's what my teachers did when we read kipling in school. fuuuuuuck, as if children weren't stupid enough as it is.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Bastards.

    Although I laughed my ass off the other day when an English teacher friend of mine told me how her students refused to believe that Shakespeare did not use the word "ho" as it is used today. They swore characters were calling each other hos left and right.

    So, are they going to pretend that politically incorrect words never existed and still don't exist?
    "Schadenfreude, hard to spell, easy to feel." ~VenusinFauxFurs

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    I don't know. While I understand using the vernacular is a way of representing reality. The reality is ugly and racist. And so why should black students be required to read insults about themselves and their heritage just because "that's how people really felt back then." Why should a homosexual have to read the book with the word "faggot" in it as part of mandating reading requirements in public school. Instead of censoring the book, how about we read a different book.

    Twain would probably agree.

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    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Okay, so if I get offended by the word bitch or any other word used against women, then I just shouldn't read any books with the work in it. I also should never read any books with that are prejudiced against Southern people then too. I should also never be required to read anything that is insulting to Americans either.

    There is something in everything that will offend someone. We shouldn't whitewash bad parts of history or just ignore certain parts of it because it hurts. That's exactly why we should pay attention to those parts of history, to learn from those painful parts. And who is saying that it will be taught in a racist way? or that a book with homophobic slurs would be taught in a homophobic way?

    (As I say this though, I thought Huckelberry Finn was boring as hell and that students should be reading something different for that reason rather than the fact the book makes some feel uncomfortable.)
    "Schadenfreude, hard to spell, easy to feel." ~VenusinFauxFurs

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    Gold Member Straight's Avatar
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    ridiculous.

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    Completely unnecessary. They could always choose a different book with similar themes and subject matter that doesn't use the word gratuitously. If anything students might benefit from reading books outside the canon.

    In any case, this just seems like a new way to whitewash history.

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    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
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    i'm pretty much seething over this! science forbid people are actually made to feel uncomfortable about how very fucked up racism actually was at that time in history! the ramifications of this could be big; this could be the version of huck finn that my kids read in school. how can we pretend it wasn't like this...just another way to whitewash american history. fuck that!
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    Silver Member LucreziaBorgia's Avatar
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    Twain overused 'the word' on purpose I reckon - by the time you are halfway through you read right through the word and no longer really notice the impact: just like people had become benumbed to slavery in general and tended to look through it instead of *at* it.

    There is a sanitized edition in the 'Classic Starts' series for kids. Reads like an entirely different type of book: one that surely had Twain rolling over in his grave. I guess one good thing about it is that it is an introduction to the themes for younger children who wouldn't otherwise 'get' Twain's messages behind the text.

    As for a sanitized general edition. Eh, it defeats the purpose really. It will be accessible but I don't think Twain was really concerned with accessible.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    I don't know. While I understand using the vernacular is a way of representing reality. The reality is ugly and racist. And so why should black students be required to read insults about themselves and their heritage just because "that's how people really felt back then." Why should a homosexual have to read the book with the word "faggot" in it as part of mandating reading requirements in public school. Instead of censoring the book, how about we read a different book.

    Twain would probably agree.
    Twain would most certainly not agree. The book is a satire, and taking the offensive word out changes the entire point.

    The people Huck and Jim encounter are drunks, murderers, thieves, child abusers, etc. They're all white. The only truly decent person is Jim, and Twain called him "Nigger Jim" to emphasize the irony of a society where a good man was beneath contempt.

    People who are offended by the word in this book's context don't understand the book.



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    If Twain would agree with Gristledonna, wouldn't he have left out the words in the first place?

    Can't wait to read about the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Aboriginal American Joe!

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    ^^LOL.

    But really, this is insane!

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gristledonna View Post
    I don't know. While I understand using the vernacular is a way of representing reality. The reality is ugly and racist. And so why should black students be required to read insults about themselves and their heritage just because "that's how people really felt back then." Why should a homosexual have to read the book with the word "faggot" in it as part of mandating reading requirements in public school. Instead of censoring the book, how about we read a different book.

    Twain would probably agree.
    no, he most certainly would not. have you even read the book?

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Twain would most certainly not agree. The book is a satire, and taking the offensive word out changes the entire point.

    The people Huck and Jim encounter are drunks, murderers, thieves, child abusers, etc. They're all white. The only truly decent person is Jim, and Twain called him "Nigger Jim" to emphasize the irony of a society where a good man was beneath contempt.

    People who are offended by the word in this book's context don't understand the book.
    this.

    teh stupid, it hurts.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Well of course they should take out all the bad words as heaven forbid that the book could be used as a useful springboard into a discussion about how socially acceptable attitudes and language has changed over time as exampled in literature. That might encourage the class to actually think for themselves and that's a big no-no.
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