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TODAY'S QUESTION: Should Mark Twain's books be republished without the original language?

Friday, January 7, 2011 | 12:55 p.m. CST; updated 3:47 p.m. CST, Friday, January 7, 2011

An Alabama publisher is republishing two of Mark Twain's classic books, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," without certain language that Twain originally wrote.

The publisher plans to replace the N-word, which occurs four times in Tom Sawyer and 219 times in Huck Finn, with the word "slave." He will also change the villain in Tom Sawyer from "Injun Joe" to "Indian Joe" and "half-breed" to "half-blood."

Twain's books have been scrutinized many times before. In 1998 in Tempe, Ariz., parents sued a high school for having Twain's books on the required reading list. The case went all the way to the federal appeals court, where the parents lost.

In 1905, The Brooklyn Public Library banned the book from the juvenile section. Twain, still alive at the time, responded by saying, "Censorship is telling a man he can't have steak just because a baby can't chew it."

The publisher is planning to reproduce 7,500 copies, which will be available next month.

Should Mark Twain's books be republished without the original language? 


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Comments

Derrick Fogle January 7, 2011 | 2:14 p.m.

Twain knew what he was doing. Sanitizing his work is wrong. This snarky Twitter post sums it up very well:

"The new 'Huckleberry Finn' - where Jim is shackled, beaten & kept as human livestock, but nobody calls him any bad words."

Twain was absolutely brilliant. Sanitizing his literature is phenomenally stupid.

(Report Comment)
stephen bryant January 14, 2011 | 4:30 a.m.

Let it as it was written. What's wrong with all these morons. Being all so PC today is a royal pain.

(Report Comment)

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