There is something amazingly beautiful and pure about the classics. I love to look at them… see them all lined up on my shelf and I quite literally (pun possibly intended) get shivers as I stand before the greats.
Which brings me to the buzz currently around The Adventures Of Huck Finn. Here is a quote from an article that was recently in our local paper:
An Associated Press story from Montgomery, Ala., reported a new edition of the two Mark Twain books has replaced the N-word with “slave.” Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in “Huck Finn” and four times in “Tom Sawyer.” He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those “which people praise and don’t read.”
The word “nigger” is in the book 219 times.
When you take away the “N” word we are replacing the language of the book. Did Mark Twain write these words to be offensive? No. Yet the word does hold a power to it that reflects the times and in instances such as this, a replacement word does not hold the same power that the original does. This is not the word we would use today, but it is part of the history of the south and I for one do not believe that we silence it. Yes it is an ugly word, but it holds within it the picture of the times and the emotions that come with it. All of it… every word… is the creation that makes up Huck Finn.
So let me say it this way….. if you have your great great great great grandmother’s apple pie recipe and you decide for giggles that you are going to remove one of the ingredients and replace it with a substitute….. is it still the CLASSIC recipe that was handed down to you? Or is it now…. your recipe? Close to the original…. but not quite.
What are your thoughts on this change? Any thoughts on other changes made in books?
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share this news with you, but I feel compelled to do so. I received an email yesterday letting me know that Anna Marie Catoir, from Anna Marie’s Corner passed away on December 25th at the age of 32.
Anna was diagnosed with lymphoma several months ago.
I did not personally know Anna other than through our conversations through the Monday What Are You Reading meme and the comments on my blog. I knew she was a manager at Barnes and Noble.
One comment I remember was on a post I did called Book Bloggers Unite and it was during banned book week while I was selecting what books to read that Anna Marie said this:
If your dance card isn’t full and you haven’t read it already, why not try the recently banned The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Here is the story from Sept. 9th. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1663154.html I’ve read this tile and really enjoyed it.
And you know what? I did read that book and Anna Marie was right – I loved it.
In many ways this is a hard post for me to write and I really had to think about what I would, or should say. After sitting on this news for 24 hours my heart says that Anna Marie was part of our community and rather than seeing a blog go silent and wonder why… we can know who she was and share in this loss.
I will miss her comments and conversations, and popping over to see what she is reading. To her family and friends I give my deepest sympathies.
I am excited to announce that Dreaming Anastasia now has a book trailer! I read this book last fall and really enjoyed it.
Anastasia Romanov knows she should be dead; she watched her family fall in a hail of gunfire. Instead, something, or someone, saved her. Trapped and scared in a magical hut with a witch who may be friend or foe, she begins to come to grips with the truth about her situation: that some fates are WORSE than death.
In her dreams, sixteen year old Anne Michaelson is somewhere else. She is someone else. The dreams feel as real as her waking life and they terrify her. This is not good for her social life! Aside from that, Anne thinks her life is pretty ordinary – until she runs into handsome, mysterious, and (okay) annoying Ethan on her way to chemistry class. Now Anne has powers she doesn’t understand, a history-altering mission she doesn’t want, and a growing attraction to a blue-eyed stranger that seems to be stalking her! And when Ethan realizes that Anne is the girl he’s been searching for, things start to get a little surreal! Despite her skepticism and reluctance, Anne quickly realizes that you don’t need to be imprisoned to be trapped! Stir in the doomed Duchess Anastasia, who is not quite as dead as the history books say, and the Baba Yaga, a legendary witch from Russian folklore, and you’ve got Dreaming Anastasia by debut novelist Joy Preble.