Your are viewing a read-only archive of the old DiS boards. Please hit the Community button above to engage with the DiS !
I just finished reading this yesterday, and the n-bomb is integral
I remember the first time I read that with a class I hadn't prepared it in advance and it kind of comes out of nowhere. Fun times.
Nowadays I have a lesson on cultural relativism ready before the chapter in question. Also fun times.
I might get people arguing with me about this but I think it's a bit silly.
This is fucking stupid and I'm the sort of person who usually takes the side of the person removing the word. A book like this is an opportunity to teach kids why words that used to be acceptable arent any more, and that the meaning and valuation of words depend on their historical and social context. Huck Finn is a record of that word at the moment it was taking on the negative connotations that make it unacceptable today.
and not as an examination of prejudice and language? (I'm aware that I'm establishing something of a false dichotomy here, but you catch my drift) In that case, wouldn't it be better to replace the word with a modern equivalent that brings the text closer to the original authorial intent?
There's no reason you couldn't teach the updated version so that kids who otherwise might be upset or offended are more likely to engage with it, and then prepare a lesson further down the line about the changing use of language, racial prejudice and so on?
Before you know it Hamlet is moping around playing on his DS lite. Or something.
If kids are 'upset or offended', good. It serves as a reminder of how things might be different now. And when you start tampering with classic texts, where do you stop? What about classic novels that have whole themes that are unpleasant? Someone might well find the entire premise of Lolita offensive, but that's no reason to censor the whole thing.
We are talking about history here. This shit is important.
- that's poor logic. There are very clear structural and substantive differences between replacing a single word in a book to make it more amenable to usage in a very specific context in such a way that does no harm to the narrative, and censoring an entire fucking book. Those things are very very clearly worlds apart.
If the novel was being edited in order to be more comprehensible to a modern audience, I might be more sympathetic. Even then I would have qualms as to why a classic text needs tampering with. But you're saying that the word 'nigger' should be taken out on the grounds that it might offend some students of the book. What I fundamentally disagree with is taking historical elements out of any literature, of any age - *especially* the offensive elements. If students find the inclusion of offensive words in novels unacceptable then they have no business dabbling in literature at all, and would do well to better understand the history of the word, that they might appreciate why it is no longer acceptable.
You may view it as a 'single word' but your reasons for removing it are vast, and the 'slippery slope' logic is entirely justified. Editing one word as volatile as that is censoring a novel's morality and its history. It is wrong.
And the Stewart Lee clip linked to on there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGAOCVwLrXo
People need to understand why these things happened, and the way to do that is by educating people and not glossing over uncomfortable things from the past.
if you dont apply a context to the author youve fucked up majorly already.
STAND BACK EVERYONE, THIS GUY'S AN EXPERT
or might literature be granted the further function of "transforming"? In which case, one might argue that at least part of "the point" of the novel is to produce an age in which the novel's "censoring" along these lines is deemed not simply appropriate but utterly essential.
For one thing, you're conviniently forgetting Walt Whitman, who predates Twain, and is the great American poet of "democratic vistas".
Not to mention Clemens, for all his great books, was essentially just a provincial comedian.
Anyway, I'm on a bus/phone so I'll have to leave it at that for now
is almost entirely exogenous to the narrative, as it is something that has come about as a result of a change in language after the book was written. To the extent that the book is a discussion of prejudice of course there is a legitimate thematic discussion to be had in the classroom, but it is clear that Twain's use of the word was in no way meant to have the impact it has since attained.
Still got fingers crossed :)
That's awful. Should have gone to Oxford ;)
gets me every time.
Although, by "they", I mean "this one guy that's doing this". Original wordings will still be available, folks.
I thought that didn't make sense. I wonder what they're changing the "I" word to then.
Romeo and Juliet you can fuck off too.
I still have absolutely no idea why.
is to show the evils of racial discrimination.
It's astonishing that someone has the balls to edit one of the greatest writers to have ever lived. Who fucks with classic literature?!?
read Huckleberry Finn in class, with all the voices, analysis, etc. It was the single best class I've ever had. I'll never forget it.
But for one example, how about Thomas Bowldler, who messed with Shakespeare so much his name was taken on as verb?
no, not a single person did.
Bit harder to do than the whole 'move Blair's autobiography to the crime section' thing, but if people have time on their hands...
it about one fucking guy and his one fucking version which for all we know will have a miniscule print run. Also, the author of the article apparently can't even spell "censorship." Fuckin lol.
words shouldn't be read with "all the connotations [they have] today". They should be read in their historical context. I don't read the word "gay" in an Enid Blyton book to mean "homosexual".
but the debate here is specifically about using the text in a pedagogic context. Also, you are not - presumably - from an area and a backgroundwhere the painful legacy of slavery and racial discrimination is still a live issue, and thus are much more likely to be able to approach such achraic language in a sober and detached manner.
who should be exposed to the original text and the pedagogical context is exactly the one in which to do it (assuming a competent teacher is involved). Being taught about such things brings literature and history alive and means that children are not ignorant of the injustices and sturggles of the past and how they affect their lives today.
Terrible, terrible book
you'll see that this guys motivations are specifically to make sure that those children *are* exposed to the text. He's trying to reach a compromise to make sure that the book is not dropped outright. Which would you prefer - that the book is kept pure and untained and unread , or that a small compromise is made and it continues to be taught?
weren't so pettifoggingly PC as to remove it from the syllabus because of one word.
we live in the real world where the teaching system is deeply imperfect and compromises have to be made on a daily basis
"Now, Twain scholar Alan Gribben plans to do something about it: he’s going to replace the word with something less racially offensive.
"Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic by most any measure—T.S. Eliot called it a masterpiece, and Ernest Hemingway pronounced it the source of "all modern American literature." Yet, for decades, it has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional reading lists, or banned outright, appearing again and again on lists of the nation’s most challenged books, and all for its repeated use of a single, singularly offensive word: "nigger."
It seems to me that this guy is motivated not by a burning desire to bowdlerize Twain, but rather to reach a compromise to prevent a book he cares about from being banned outright from school curricula.
Anyway, back to the RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE
Can't we just make all the characters in it get along please
however, if schools are no longer letting kids read it, I guess a censored version would be better than nothing. The fault lies with the schools / education authorities rather than the guy that is having it republished though, IMO.
Principal Skinner, The Simpsons, just now on channel 4 when Bart tried to burn it.
it's constructing this past where the word didn't exist and it absolves those who used it to denigrate others, and also alters a whole chunk of history of subjugation.
Most novels, certainly in the 'canon' of English literature, involve bullying, discrimination, cruelty, zealotry, and subjugation of various kinds. Usually that's why they're considered 'important' books - because they capture a moment in time.
If we took this line of thought, things like The Color Purple, Our Country's Good, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and basically all post-colonial literature could not be taught in the curriculum at all.
That some of the kids might take on racist language and appropriate it is not a reason against teaching those kinds of texts. Certainly none of the words will be new to them. But it does at least engage dialogue about the subject, which might otherwise go unchecked.
makes me want to read huckleberry
"Wait, is that what that word means? I've been using it all wrong."
I love The Onion.
seem aware of why this guy's decided to republish the book like this.
I can see why people think he might be misguided and I'm not sure it's the right thing to do, but at the same time I can see exactly why he's driven to try and get some of the classics back onto American school reading lists.
The fact that people have vehemently disagreed with it is not a sign that people (a) haven't read the article, or (b) don't really understand the (no doubt benevolent) intentions of the edit. It's an extremely patronising line of argument to suggest otherwise.
the issue here centres around the intentions of the edit and the wider problem of schools censoring their reading lists based on language/ideology, yet not many people have even touched on it.
I actually agree that we shouldn't be pandering to people in editing down novels, and pretty much agree with what you've posted here - http://drownedinsound.com/community/boards/social/4275677#r5793815 - but there's then a fundamental problem in ensuring these books endure, particularly in an age where a smaller propertion of people than ever are reading literature at all.
it's a few; injun, nigger, and half-breed have all been censored.
It took me absolutely ages to read Tom Sawyer. I thought that was meant to be the classic one.
I didn't really enjoy it. In terms of shedding light on an interesting period in American history it worked well for me and I found it quaint and pleasant, but that's about it all really.
I started reading the first page of Huck Finn and was like "wtf" cos it was written in some crazy dialect that I couldn't really decipher.
What a story. Hope everyone's well.