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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 9 Jan 2011 23:54:07 -0500
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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"Carl J. Chimi" <[log in to unmask]>
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> I've thought some more about the altered version of AHF.

My understanding is that the word "nigger" has been replaced by "slave", and the word "Injun" has been unaccountably replaced by the word "Indian".  The reason for these changes, as I understand them, is that by removing two words that perpetuate stereotypes and that can cause some modern people to be very uncomfortable the book can be made more accessible to a wider audience.

I understand the logic involved, although I find the reasoning used not only weak, but also unlikely to achieve the putative objective.  I also, as do many people on this list, apparently, find the changing of an author's words when he is not alive to protest, to be morally wrong and an exercise in poor judgment.  It was wrong when Paine did it, and it is wrong now.  This is a different thing from editors and reviewers such as Livy and Howells making suggestions to tone down his language while Clemens was alive and actually in the writing process.  It makes me wonder if future editions of his letters might leave out all of the racist language he used as a young man, apparently without affectation or shame.

At any rate, having gone through the exercise, I wonder why the new edition of AHF perpetuates the stereotype of the drunken Irishman so prevalent in Twain's time and ours.  Why not rename Pap and the boy Smith?  Or Blankenship?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Smith.

Has a nice, vanilla ring to it.

Regards to all,