Earlier this week, while delivering papers, I noticed a headline announcing a new "sanitized" edition of the classic "Huckleberry Finn" was in the works. Then today, when we were driving to Lloydminster (the semi had to be taken to the repair shop and after dropping it off, John needed a ride home), I was listening to Cross Country Check-Up on CBC with Rex Murphy. The topic for discussion was this new book and what people thought about it. Murphy talked to Suzanne La Rosa, the publisher of the new edition, as well as various teachers, English professors, young people currently studying the book -- the whole gamut.
A few years ago, for my Father's birthday, we went to the Barn Playhouse near Saskatoon to watch a dramatic performance of "Huckleberry Finn." As it was family-type entertainment, I hadn't really thought about the book as controversial. At any rate, the latest media coverage makes me think I should order a copy from the local library and read this book, so I can better decide for myself whether the publication of this new volume is a good thing (as Martha Stewart would say) or a negative form of censorship. Despite my Bachelor's degree in English, there are so many good books that I haven't actually read. Maybe, once we have finished the trilogy of E. Nesbit books, Alisdair and I should read "Huckleberry Finn" as one of our "read alouds." I might have read it years ago, but I honestly can't recall if I have actually done so.
What do you think? Is taking the n-word and other slurs out of Mark Twain censorship, or a step in the right direction in terms of getting younger people better acquainted with literature of the U.S. Civil War era? If you wish to do so, leave your thought in the comments.
I have copied (below) an article about the new edition of "Huckleberry Finn" from "The National Post":
New edition of Huckleberry Finn to replace ‘n-word’ with ‘slave’