You Shall not Steal from HUCK FINN

You Shall not Steal from HUCK FINN
6 January 2011
A moron English professor, who does not deserve the fame of being named, and an unprincipled publishing company, that deserves the infamy, are censoring Mark Twain’s HUCK FINN. In their infinite ‘wisdom’ they’ve decided to remove the ‘N’ word from the novel. They steal from Samuel Clemens. 
Shouldn’t the supposed English teacher and the book company have an inkling of how a book is written? That by removing the author’s language, they are thieves of the lowest order? That each and every word is chosen for a reason. The story is built of words. Words depict the characters. Words build the world. Speech that characterize the actors in the story, words. Monosyllabic and polysyllabic, the shortness and length of the words forming the rhythm of the language. The exact words chosen to set the tension of the plot. 
What’s the difference between HUCK FINN and TWILIGHT? The words. The words that make the plot. The words that place Huck on the Mississippi. The words that show the reader Jim and Huck, neither of whom it turns out is a vampire or were. The words that pull the reader into another era, without cellphones or pick up trucks.  The words that transform Huck from ignorant boy to a man who can see beyond the color of skin. Who can see injustice and stand against it. 
It is a crime against literature to abridge a book. It is a crime against human intellect to ban one.
 It is a sin to steal the text as written by the author.
Samuel Clemens chose his words carefully and to a purpose. As Samuel Clemens said in 1888, “The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter--- it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Which is why HUCK FINN has been banned by idiots and now assaulted by morons. Because Clemens built a novel of powerful words. Those who cannot stand and read such words … well fine. Don’t read. Go play with your X Box. 
But don’t steal literature from the rest of us.


  1. Well said! I am so appalled by this. As someone said on Facebook -- What next, Conrad's PERSON OF COLOR OF THE NARCISSUS?

  2. Kath, I agree totally with you. It is an outrage and if you find some kind of petition going around to stop this, let SinC know and you'll have a ton of writers to sign it! And we would all forward it to others we know.

  3. Amen. Great post. Leonard Pitts wrote a great editorial on this issue, and my favorite quote was this: is troubling to think the state of reading comprehension in this country has become this wretched, that we have tweeted, PlayStationed and Fox Newsed so much of our intellectual capacity away that not only can our children not divine the nuances of a masterpiece, but that we will now protect them from having to even try.

  4. Thank you, Vicki, Marni, and Mel. I'm starting the newly released Twain autobiography. Thankfully that seems to not be abridged.


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