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
> 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.
> Mac Donnell Rare Books
> 9307 Glenlake Drive
> Austin TX 78730
> Member: ABAA, ILAB
> You may browse our books at
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