By now, most readers will no doubt have heard that the “n-word” has been removed from a new edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by NewSouth Books, replaced throughout the book with the word “slave.”

I’ve been asked repeatedly, over the last several days, what I think of this idea. The answer, which may surprise some, is that I entirely support the idea of censoring Huckleberry Finn to remove the “n-word”—as long as the word is actually censored (blacked out, blanked out, replaced with square brackets, etc.) rather than replaced with a very different word like “slave.”

Why the distinction, and why am I willing to see Twain’s work altered at all?

Click here to read the rest of this entry