It'll probably be erased from our memories in time, yes. But for the moment, we have to see it in its historical context and help today's readers understand why is not a pleasant word.
Here's a cat amongst the pigeons - take the WORST case, and that's 'Hate Literature' - ie, a work that's DELIBERATELY written to offend or intimidate a particular group or person. Does anyone have a right to edit that? (IMHO such works are indefensible and not worthy of any attention)
But clearly, Mark Twain meant no offence by the use of his language. Common-sense would suggest that this was the language used at the time, and by the characters of that time. So surely, as a historical document, it should remain as it is no matter how language changes, otherwise it would lose it's believability.
Look at Shakespere - the English language has evolved dramatically since penned (or Quilled?) but we keep it as it is, warts and all.
If we were to update Shakespere to modern English, then how far would we go? Text-Speak?
@JULIET: ? LGT THRU YNDR WNDO BRKS? LOL, IT'S JLT, LKN WKD! :)
LOL, I love it!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!
I don't think anyone should have the right to change the author's words except the author him/herself. If there is something offensive in a book, no one is obligated to read it. But the author's right should not be violated.
I often wonder what MT would have said if he were to come back now.