Huckleberry Finn, the American classic written by Mark Twain and staple of high school English class everywhere, has always been controversial for its use of the "N-word." (I mean, I even remember my own high school English class debate on the appropriateness of using such word - as I'm sure every class before and after mine had as well)
Now, Twain scholar Alan Gribben plans to do something about it: he's going to replace the word with something less racially offensive.
Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic by most any measure—T.S. Eliot called it a masterpiece, and Ernest Hemingway pronounced it the source of "all modern American literature." Yet, for decades, it has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional reading lists, or banned outright, appearing again and again on lists of the nation's most challenged books, and all for its repeated use of a single, singularly offensive word: "nigger."
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."
A classic case of cencorship by the politically correct or the appropriately sensitive approach to racial injustice of the past? What do you think?