Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rewriting Twain

So, most everyone has probably heard about the rewriting of Huck Finn to make it 'more accessible' to modern readers (and to try to keep it off of the book most likely to be banned list probably).  In reality, it was to make one English professor more comfortable in reading and teaching the book (see the article linked earlier in this paragraph).  In reading several comments on a bunch of blogs, one comment comes to mind and I wish I could remember  who wrote it.  So my apologies in advance. 

In any case a commenter wrote that this rewrite is more insidious than outright censorship or banning because in time, the rewritten version will supersede the original and no one will remember Twain's words as originally written and published. 

If they can do this to Twain, what is next?  How many books will be sanitized to avoid controversy or thought or discussion?  And if they cannot be sanitized, then can Bradbury's vision in Fahrenheit 451--'book burning for the sake of society' be far behind?

"Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme." 

Source:  Ray Bradbury:  Coda to 1987 version (and 1979 version) of Fahrenheit 451, page 177.

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