Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by

A new edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, forthcoming from NewSouth Books in mid-February, does more than unite the companion boy books in one volume, as the author had intended. It does more even than restore a passage from the Huckleberry Finn manuscript that first appeared in Twain’s Life on the Mississippi and was subsequently cut from the work upon publication.

In a bold move compassionately advocated by Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben and embraced by NewSouth, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also replaces two hurtful epithets that appear hundreds of times in the texts with less offensive words, this intended to counter the “preemptive censorship” that Dr. Gribben observes has caused these important works of literature to fall off curriculum lists nationwide.

In presenting his rationale for publication, eloquently developed in the book’s introduction, Dr. Gribben discusses the context of the racial slurs Twain used in these books. He also remarks on the irony of the fact that use of such language has caused Twain’s books to join the ranks of outdated literary classics Twain once humorously defined as works “which people praise and don’t read.”

At NewSouth, we saw the value in an edition that would help the works find new readers. If the publication sparks good debate about how language impacts learning or about the nature of censorship or the way in which racial slurs exercise their baneful influence, then our mission in publishing this new edition of Twain’s works will be more emphatically fulfilled.

Learn more about Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and read an excerpt from the introduction at See also a feature story on the volume by Marc Shultz at Publishers Weekly.

10 Responses to “A word about the NewSouth edition of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn”

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer Republished With Racial Slurs Removed - GalleyCat Says:

    […] Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben will publish Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in a single volume, removing the  “n” word and the word “injun” from the text. The word […]

  2. Voices: The Huckleberry Finn Controversy | test Says:

    […] Suzanne LaRosa, publisher, NewSouth Books. Yeah, it’s a tough book. Which is an excellent reason for […]

  3. Morris W. O’Kelly: Roger Ebert Misses the Boat | NewsMobius Says:

    […] More HERE. […]

  4. Revamped “Huckleberry Finn” excludes the word ‘Nigger’. – Says:

    […] week marked a controversial move by publisher New South Books and Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben to remove the word “nigger” from their new edition of […]

  5. Technology, Thoughts, and Trinkets » Controversial Changes to Public Domain Works Says:

    […] looking at how new technologies butt heads against free speech. Specifically, I want to argue that NewSouth, Inc.’s decision to publish Huckleberry Finn without the word “nigger” – replacing it with “slave” – […]

  6. Heather Ernest Says:

    After reading several of the stinging comments left by the critics of Alan Gribben, I am compelled to respond. As a former high school English (public) teacher and present middle school teacher, I 100% agree with his decision to alter Huck Finn. I believe that most of the criticism is originating from some of us that have failed to step into a 21st century classroom. We cannot and should not try to erase history; however, we can offer our teachers another option or choice.

  7. From Homage to High-Jacking: Where’s the Line? « topofourlungs Says:

    […] you can see from the cover image on the publisher’s site, the book is still presented as ‘Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn’ but with the […]

  8. Rewriting Huckleberry Finn: Some Random Thoughts Says:

    […] To my knowledge, this entire going-viral story is based solely off of a press release issued by the publisher. We are taking part in a marketing/promotional campaign simply by talking about it. So […]

  9. New Edition of Huckleberry Finn: Censorship at its Finest « Lilolia Says:

    […] authors.  For more information on this new edition of the classic Huckleberry Finn please visit NewSouth. Rate this:Share this:EmailPrintFacebookStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  10. New Jersey lawmakers want schools to stop teaching ‘Huckleberry Finn’ Says:

    […] have been other attempts to deal with the book’s strong language. In 2011, a publisher announced an edition of “Huckleberry Finn“ in which the n-word was replaced with the word “slave.” […]

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