NewSouth Books is releasing Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn without the racial epithets.

From the publisher: “At NewSouth, we saw the value in an edition that would help the works find new readers. If the publication sparks good debate about how language impacts learning or about the nature of censorship or the way in which racial slurs exercise their baneful influence, then our mission in publishing this new edition of Twain’s works will be more emphatically fulfilled.”

I can see this from both sides. One, I don’t think anyone should fool with literature. It is what it is. Two, I understand that history is keeping these books out of children’s hands and I am interested whether this change will have an effect on reading lists. What do you think?

4 thoughts to “The New Huck Finn


    I’m torn about this. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t being taught at all in some places due to the racial slurs. It’s too important a book to be skipped, so if this gets it into the hands of students, that’s a good thing. It is just one edition and anyone can go to any bookstore and get an un updated/edited/censored copy. On the other hand, it’s classic literature and I’d think at the high school level teachers could come up with a plan to deal with the original text and use it to teach larger lessons.

  • Blanc2

    My sense is that the motivation for doing this is a good one. “Huck Finn” is a classic work of American literature, but it ends up on the “banned” list in many schools becasue of the n-word. At the same time, the fact that this is an issue at all underscores exactly how in America we have elevated form over substance when it comes to racism, which I blame mainly on white PC liberalism. It’s truly a sad commentary on the state of the national dialogue concerning race.

  • Blanc2

    Forgot to add that, for the purpose of getting the work into the hands of high schoolers, the censorship is not unprecedented. I’ve seen censored versions of many other works used in high school, such as Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

  • Blanc2

    McWhorter’s article on this.

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