Language in Huck Finn. Controversy and Debate. First banning of the book. In 1885, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned from some libraries because of “coarse language.”
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Controversy and Debate
-New York Herald, March 18, 1885
Twain once wrote that “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter -- it is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” He chose his words with care. The “new edition" of Huck Finn is not new (John Wallace published an edition that substituted “slave” for the n-word over 25 years ago); and it is not Huck Finn.
It is the persistence of racism in America that makes the n-word in Huck Finn a problem in the classroom. We need to give teachers the tools they need to teach Twain’s book in the context of the history of racism in this country that is its central concern.
Commentary from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/01/05/does-one-word-change-huckleberry-finn