Librarian of the Year disagrees with Huckleberry Finn edits

Mark Twain. (AP Photo/File) | Zoom
KIRO Radio

A former Seattle librarian just named Librarian of the Year says she finds an upcoming revised edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn "distressing."

In NewSouth Book's new edition, they will replace the "n-word" and "injun" with the word slave.

"I think it's a mistake, because books are written at a particular time in history, and we need to read them with the knowledge that they're written at those times," says Nancy Pearl, a former Seattle librarian, just named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal. "This is the way the world was then, and this is the way the world is now, when that kind of language isn't acceptable."

Pearl told KIRO Radio's Frank Shiers that if readers are offended by the use of such language in the book they simply don't get it.

>>Listen to Nancy Pearl on Northwest Nights with Frank Shiers

"It's not used in a hectoring sort of way, but it's a way that reveals the way the country was at that time," says Pearl. "Reading Huck Finn, as painful as it could be, and is for some people, because of the language that Twain uses. I think those are teaching moments, those are discussion moments."

Pearl says despite the publisher's good intentions, it's still the political correctness police trampling on a literary classic.

"To rewrite history, the way that they're doing that, I think is distressing."

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