>Would publishers dream of editing Shakespeare? How about rewriting “To Kill A Mockingbird”? Would Jane Eyre read better if it were revamped?
Of course not.
Mark Twain’s books, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” are as much great literature as they are social commentary. Where else can school children and others learn about America’s dark age of Slavery? How else are people supposed to learn from a young United States’ error of historical judgement?
The novels were altered by Alan Gribben, a literature professor at Auburn Montgomery University in Alabama, who told National Public Radio that he wanted to save the books, favorites of US children’s literature, from disuse because of the controversial language.
“We live in a vastly changed cultural climate, and frankly, I make no apologies for offering this alternative,” Gribben, who is white, said of the books originally published at the end of 19th century.
But his revisions have sparked outrage among purists and others who insist the original language is part of what makes the novels a tool for teaching about a difficult part of US history.
“‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ was written by one of the most prolific and insightful writers and observers of the 19th and 20th century American scene,” said Barbara Jones, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom on aolnews.com.
“Mark Twain was not afraid to highlight all of his country’s strengths and foibles. He used the N-word deliberately — and not because he was a racist,” she said.