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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 5 Jan 2011 10:33:01 -0800
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Lawrence Howe <[log in to unmask]>
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I agree about being supportive of Alan Gribben, even if some of us disagree with his decision on this point.  I think his explanation that his edition serves teachers who would not use the book otherwise has some merit, though I prefer persuasion to capitulation.  His contributions to Twain scholarship over the years are not re-shaped by his involvement in this effort. 

Your call for support reminded me of the attacks on Tom Wortham after an article about his collection of Twain memorabilia was circulated. I think it was Gregg Camfield who came to Tom's side on that one.  Sadly, Tom was quoted in the Keith Olberman piece last night.  I don't know if Olberman amped up the tone of Tom's criticism, but I thought it was unfortunate that he was accusing Alan of being a 21st century Bowdler. 


--- On Wed, 1/5/11, Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Language and Art editing
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 11:32 AM
> > at what point
> > does the editing stop?
> >
> > Kit Barry
> > The Ephemera Archive for American Studies=
> In this edition I think the editing stops with substituting
> "slave" for 
> "nigger" and "Indian" for "Injun."  Somebody
> mentiioned the John Wallace 
> edition of HF, but I'd like to point out that he did much
> more than a few 
> word substitutions. I'll give just one example. In the
> famous passage where 
> Huck replies "No'm. Killed a nigger" that entire sentence
> is deleted in 
> Wallace's edition, with the result that Huck simply replies
> "No'm" which in 
> turn erases all the racism out of Aunt Sally's response. I
> don't think any 
> of us can endorse that sort of defanging of Twain's text.
> But if all you do 
> is substitute the word "slave" in Huck's reply, the racist
> impact of Aunt 
> Sally's remark remains intact. There is co comparison
> between this new 
> edition and the Wallace edition.
> I've also seen a cyber-comment that Twain would never have
> allowed his texts 
> to be defanged. Nonsense! He did it all the time, usually
> in response to 
> Livy, or Howells, or after road-testing his texts before an
> audience. In 
> `Journalism in Tennessee' there's a newspaper editor who is
> described as a 
> "crawling insect" who is "braying."  Really? An insect
> that brays? 
> Jack-asses bray, not insects, and in Twain's own copy of
> that printed text 
> he corrected the printed text back to "jack-ass." Without
> original 
> manuscripts and revised copies of his printed texts we may
> never know the 
> full extent of Twain's self-editing, or how much he allowed
> others to fiddle 
> with his texts. Twain's editing was not limited to word
> choices. Didn't he 
> leave out a chapter about lynching from one book so as not
> to harm sales in 
> the south?
> As Twain once remarked when the Concord Library banned HF,
> all of the noise 
> and chatter would probably just sell more copies. I hope
> that's the result 
> this time around. More readers for HF!!
> One last thought-- quibble as we may among ourselves, I
> hope we all circle 
> our wagons if the attacks on Al Gribben escalate. He is one
> of us, a friend, 
> a boon to Twain scholarship, and a good guy. I know a good
> safe-house in 
> Austin, Texas.
> Kevin
> @
> Mac Donnell Rare Books
> 9307 Glenlake Drive
> Austin TX 78730
> 512-345-4139
> Member: ABAA, ILAB
> *************************
> You may browse our books at
> -----
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