Have you guys been following this? Unless you've fallen off the face of the Earth, I'm sure you've heard all sides of the recent debate over the new edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Original Unabridged Version is a classic by most any measure, however for decades, it's supposedly 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 because of one offensive word-- "nigger."
Twain scholar Alan Gribben was determined not to let that happen to the classic. With the help of NewSouth Books, Gribben released a version 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."
Needless to say, book lovers have been up in arms, questioning how anyone can edit a classic and in a recent Publisher's Weekly article, Gribben defends the 'other' Huck Finn and says he was quite shocked at the response.
The whole thing makes for an interesting debate. One certainly doesn't want the classic to be ignored and relegated to dusty bookshelves. One also might find it ironic that Twain himself defined a "classic" as "a book which people praise and don't read, but which would Twain rather have? Gribben's intentions mean well--to get the book back into schools and it's important to note that readers still have access to Twain's original. However, I'm a firm believer in the saying, 'Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it' and we shouldn't go revising books, so that they don't portray the time period correctly. If we removed every harmful or negative facet from a book, what would we have? Certainly, not reality, that's for sure!
I also believe, as much as we want to shield our children and protect them from harmful influences, it's also our responsibility to teach them right from wrong.
So what do you guys think? Is this the right way to get this book back into the hands of young readers?