Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Political Correctness of a Whole New Level

A publishing company entitled NewSouth Books is republishing Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer books without the racial slur n-----. As a scholar and an English undergrad, I find this disturbing. Why should we alter classics? While I understand the connotations the slur carries, I see no reason to hide from it. At Twain's time, the correct term was black. I think being exposed to the word, and Twain's usage of it can lead to academic discussion. Why did he use it? Was he prejudice? etc. The NewSouth Books company hopes to give children the opportunity to read Huck Finn without being exposed to the slur. Could that exposure not be a learning opportunity and educational? I have read many books which are somewhat offensive, insulting or otherwise not politically correct. Shakespeare, Donne, Carpe Diem poets and others write things which offensive, sexist and racist. I would go so far to say that many modern books portray some sort of unfair stereotype. I do not condone any -isms, but neither do I wish to bury myself in the sand. It exists and I think my study of such writings is educational and beneficial.


1 comment:

  1. Hey there,

    This is a pretend story. Nobody that studies literature will ever take this version seriously. What this is about is media exposure.

    The biggest publishing surprise of 2010 was the overwhelming popularity of Mark Twain's autobiography that was put out by U of California Press. It has flown off the shelves at a rate nobody predicted, despite pretty dodgy reviews. UofC Press has printed additional runs of the book, and they too have sold out. It's on backorder nearly everywhere.

    There are literally hundreds of editions of Sawyer & Finn on the market, and coming on the coattails of Twain's resurgent popularity is this publisher with a gimmick. This isn't about anything but trying to make a buck.




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