Huckleberry Finn to be Published Without the N-Word

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?

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They should publish versions in king james english, ebonics, middle english, klingon, and yiddish. Then the students could pick the version they want to read and schools could pick the versions they want to ban. Something for everyone.
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Moreover, the only effect produced by this censorship will be the increased popularity of the n-word and the situation in the class while talking about Mark Twain will be the same.
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"Are there any niggers here tonight?"

That was the question Lenny Bruce asked a shocked audience one night in 1960. His point - right or wrong - was that "the suppression of the word gives it the power of violence and viciousness." I was thinking about Lenny this morning when I read on the website AlterNet that someone took it upon themselves to remove the "N" word from a new edition of Huckleberry Finn and replaced it with the word "slave".

We cannot start pretending that THAT WORD never existed. It is not only futile, it's kind of silly, don'cha think? Are we expected to burn all copies of Dick Gregory's excellent 1964 autobiography which was called (by the way) "Nigger"? Gregory knew damned well the literary sledgehammer effect of the "N" word. It's a horrible word, no doubt about it. But it's a damned powerful word, too. There are certain places in American literature where not only does it work, it's essential - in Huckleberry Finn for instance. Old Huck was an illiterate, ignorant kid. That's how illiterate, ignorant kids talked in those days. In fact, that's how some of them talk still. To pretend he had the vocabulary of David Copperfield doesn't make any sense.

And, please, let's not forget that Mark Twain is not some re-visioned, nasty old southern bigot. Next to Frederick Douglas, he was the most enlightened human being of his age on the subject of race - and I would include Abraham Lincoln in that assessment.

It's a word; a terrible word, yes, but it's only a word.

Tom Degan
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I was talking to my dad about the same thing while watching Storm of the Century. They bleeped out the actors saying "ass" but allowed them to say "bastard"......if you're going to remove a supposedly bad word, then remove all of the bad words. As for the use of nigger (nigga for those who don't want to say it correctly), its all in how its used. Just like any word, how you use it can indicate a good or bad. Example: "Let's string us up some niggers!" (going to go and kill a bunch of black ppl); "That's my nigga right there; we's all tight and shit!" (that black guy over there is my best friend)

What I'm curious about is what they're going to replace 'injun' with.
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I don't understand why people can't differentiate between words used in a derogatory sense and those used in a factual manner. Does saying "nigger" make me racist? Only if I'm using it to degrade a black person. I see people saying innocuous words like 'fudge' in place of 'fuck' but if you're just replacing the 'bad' word but saying the 'nice' word with the same malice and intent, how is it any better?

It's just a word folks.
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