- March 1, 2012 - RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. --
A publishing imprint named Corundum Classics has put out a new and controversial edition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In addition to their unaltered version, they have released a censored version. It is not the first time that a press has created a censored version of the classic work in order to update it for modern sensitivities--
the work use the “n-word” two hundred times. While a version of the story prepared by Professor Alan Gribben of Auburn University in Montgomery Alabama substituted the racial slur for the word “slave,” Corundum Classics changes the meaning further, replacing the “N-word” with “nice guy.” They have even removed all references to intoxicating substances in a bid to further win over delicate readers. “Whisky” and “liquor” have been substituted with the word “juice,” “drunks” are called “party goers,” and being “drunk” is changed to being “sleepy” or “giddy.” As for other illicit habits, “snuff” is replaced with “candy,” and tobacco use is replaced with the use of chewing gum. A representative of the imprint states, “While there is loss of historical accuracy and a change in the meaning due to our making the work more comfortable to a certain readership, accuracy and meaning are always somewhat sacrificed with such efforts. While we wanted to meet the reading needs of that demographic, we also wanted to highlight the difficulties involved in censorship, and chose to do so in the way we substituted words. We have both censored and uncensored versions available and figured we’d let the market decide.” While this censorship can in many senses be seen as a marketing ploy, the possibly tongue in cheek nature of the censorship can also be seen in the choice of cover art. Both are by Santa Cruz artist Dirk Stockton, with the uncensored version being Huckleberry’
s hand resting reassuringly on Jim’s shoulder while looking out over evening river land. The censored version is however the same image-- as a negative reversal, this having the effect of making anything dark light, and giving Jim a lighter hue than Huckleberry. The works can be found on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.