The important conversation continues on the NewSouth edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. On last night’s episode of 60 Minutes, reporter Byron Pitts held a far-reaching conversation with NewSouth Books editor Randall Williams and University of Oregon professor David Bradley about the controversies surrounding Twain’s works, the use of racial epithets in today’s society, and NewSouth’s publication.
We respect Dr. Bradley’s belief that a full exploration of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn requires a discussion of the epithets; as Williams told Pitts, we encourage teachers who feel comfortable addressing the epithets to continue to teach original editions of Twain’s works. The NewSouth edition remains an alternative for teachers who want to use the books in their classrooms, but are unable to present them in their original form because of pressure from parents or administrators to exclude the books.
View the full interview with Randall Williams on the 60 Minutes website. You can also watch extra material, including Pitts and 60 Minutes editor Ann Silvio discussing 60 Minutes‘s decision to use racial epithets, and unaired segments from Pitts and Williams’s conversation (embedded below).
For more on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The NewSouth Edition, please read volume editor Dr. Alan Gribben’s introduction to the book. We also recommend the following articles:
• “Trouble on the Raft: Defending an ‘Other’ Huck Finn,” Dr. Alan Gribben (editor of the NewSouth edition), Publishers Weekly
• “Huck Finn controversy much ado about nothing,” Otis L. Sanford, Memphis Commercial Appeal
• “Matt gets a Letter From the Professor,” Matt Appling, Church of the People blog
• “Slave and Injun — In defense,” Today in Publishing
• “How Dare You Censor the, Um, ‘N-Word,'” Mark Leiren-Young, The Tyee