A lot of schools would like to include Mark Twain in their curricula, but they can’t anymore. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the “n” word appears 219 times.
So an English professor is producing a new version — the New South version — which strips the book of the ingredients that have gotten it banned from many schools.
“I’m hoping that people will welcome this new option, but I suspect that textual purists will be horrified,” Alan Gribben told Publishers Weekly. “Already, one professor told me that he is very disappointed that I was involved in this.”
A UCLA Twain scholar, however, says “a book like Professor Gribben has imagined doesn’t challenge children [and their teachers] to ask, ‘Why would a child like Huck use such reprehensible language?’ ”
In 2007, parents in St. Louis Park tried to get it banned from a 10th grade honors class. One parent told the Star Tribune at the time that his North Carolina class tried the UCLA scholar’s approach. It didn’t work. “Why were there so many usages of the same word?” he said. “We never got to the story line. It was the racial issue.”