I agree with you, Zohar.
As much as I'm against bowdlerisation, I do think that people are blowing this a little out of proportion. Alright, I understand that it could be a slippery slope...but this is simply one edition of a very popular and highly published book. People are hardly going to be unable to go out and buy the 'real copy', as it were. You could argue that this way, parents may feel more comfortable reading this story to their children at a younger age.
I remember reading a version that didn't have the contended word in (I'd write it here so as not to be hypocritical about not caring one way or the other about the word, but I don't wish to break any site rules), and it didn't dampen the message for me, really.
~Sara, from Inspired-Quill
Although you could argue that this is what Editors do all the time. To speak about what I know best; however good an anthology of - say - Medieval literature may be, putting a poem titled 'The Wife's Lament' next to 'The Seaman's Lament' subconsciously leads the reader to believe that they are interrelated...when in fact, 'The Wife's Lament' was just a fragment, had no name, and we don't even know if it was a wife that was lamenting.
How is this really any different from changing 'quente' in Chaucer's 'The Millar's Tale', to 'thigh' or 'hip' in modern editions? (Both of which I've seen). When in fact, he meant...well...-delicate cough-.
Have you ever read Roland Barthes' essay 'The Death of the Author'? I think it applies really well in this case, and it'd be interesting to look at this from a different angle.
Books may be written to make a statement, but how much is actually lost by replacing that one word? If a book's message hangs on the meaning of a single word, then the author needs either more confidence, a better thesaurus, or a deeper plot.
(All in all, still a rather facinating discussion. -Chuckles-)
~ Sara, from Inspired-Quill
-Nods- I see what you mean there.
Authorial intent is something that I had to look at in detail during my undergrad degree. I suppose my question would be 'How different is the overall feel of the book / story / intent, now that the word has been altered'.? Was that word really integral to the story, or can the story still stand up on its own without that prop?
(Half playing devil's advocate, by the by).
~Sara, from Inspired-Quill
Thanks for responding Sara-Jayne.
I hear what you're saying but I don't agree. I also don't think it's being blown out of proportion. This is supposed to be a 'classic' work, which I think should - along with all classics - not be changed.
This particular word is a painful one, especially for me as a black woman, and as uncomfortable as it is for me to read, I wouldn't want it changed.
Thank you, Lyn - yes, we do go to great lengths to make ourselves feel better by putting a gentle face on things that are unpleasant but that just doesn't make them go away.
Your book sounds right up my alley. I'll get a copy.
Thanks for sharing,
After a book is out of copyright, you can do anything you want to a book and its content. It is free to mix up mashup edit and be creative with. Huckleberry Finn is long out of copyright. You could make Huckleberry Finn With Zombies, or Huckleberry Computer if you wanted. This is after 70 years past the copyright date.
Claiming a public domain book is yours is illegal. There are fines associated with this. You can only claim the parts you added yourself.
Plenty of books are cleaned up. Readers Digest Condensed Books clean up the language of a lot of the books they condense, but this is expected of them.
It is the sensationalization that is the problem. Also, the marketing to political correctness is disgusting. They replaced the N-word and the word Injun with the word slave. It is not just offensive because of the language, it is also offensive because it is essentially incorrect, most Native Americans were not slaves, and a lot of black people were not slaves. It destroys the context of the language.