By Anthony Romanelli
January 28th, 2011
NewSouth Books has recently released a new edition of Mark Twain’s book, Huckleberry Fin, which has removed the use of the ‘n-word’ for many apparent reasons.
Removing the offensive words makes it easier to teach the book to students, but on the other hand people argue that it’s a problem because it is erasing a part of our country’s past. Earnest Hemmingway in 1935 said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Fin. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” So why would we start changing that now? Twain’s novels will certainly keep being challenged due to the fact that he used such provocative words and the time period they were written in. Huckleberry Fin could certainly be one of America’s greatest novels, and now it has been changed to fit our time period.
The book has long been out of its copyright date so it is subject to the desires of anyone to do with it what they want. We see that here by the new edition that has been released has removed the offensive language so it is much easier to teach to students. There were more than 200 references to the ‘n-word’ in his novel, and all were changed to the word slave. The new editions editor wrote in the introduction that he had taught Twain’s work for many years and that students were relieved when he chose to not use the troubling words.