Mark Twain

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Mark Twain

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:31 am

Mark Twain's work should not be censored, says US poll

A new edition of Huckleberry Finn with 200 offensive race references removed is only supported by 13% of Americans, survey shows

Alison Flood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 April 2011 12.29 BST


Not amused … Twain expunged. Photograph: AP

The majority of Americans are opposed to the changes made to a new edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which saw the offensive term "nigger" expunged from the classic novel, according to a new poll.

Only 13% of Americans said they supported the change made to publisher NewSouth Books' edition of the book, first published in 1884, which substitutes Twain's 200-plus uses of the word "nigger" with the word "slave", also replacing the word "injun". A Harris poll of 2,379 American adults in March found that 77% opposed the change, with 59% strongly opposing it. Conservatives, moderates and liberals were all equally likely to disagree with the change, according to the survey, while 80% of white adults were against it, as opposed to 71% of Hispanic adults and 63% of black people polled.

Publisher NewSouth Books has said that its edition is an "alternative for teachers who want to use the books in their classrooms, but are unable to present them in their original form because of pressure from parents or administrators to exclude the books".

It is not the first publisher to address the issues around a word that the book's editor, Twain scholar Dr Alan Gribben of Auburn University, Montgomery, says has "demeaning implications more vile than almost any insult that can be applied to other racial groups". Last year, Dutch publisher WordBridge Publishing removed it from the title and text of Joseph Conrad's novella The Nigger of Narcissus to avoid offending "modern sensibilities", renaming the 1897 novella as The N-word of the Narcissus, also replacing the word "nigger" with "n-word" throughout the novel.

In the week in which the American Library Association released its list of the books that Americans tried hardest to ban last year, the Harris poll also shows that a small majority of Americans – 56% – think that no book should be banned completely. But with Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance Twilight making the top 10 of challenged books last year, 34% of Americans said that children should not be able to get books with vampires in from school libraries, while 41% believe books that include witchcraft or sorcery should not be available in school libraries.

The poll also found that 45% were against school libraries featuring books with reference to sex, 48% were against books with reference to violence and 62% were against books containing explicit language. Around a quarter felt that the Torah, Talmud and Koran should not be on school library shelves, while just 11% were against the Bible being available.

The Harris poll found that the older and less educated people were, the more likely they were to feel there were some books that should be completely banned, while political affiliations also made a difference: 73% of liberals and 60% of moderates were against banning any books, compared with 41% of conservatives.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  eddie on Sun May 15, 2011 6:09 pm

Rare Edward Ardizzone illustrations of Huckleberry Finn rediscovered

Pen and ink drawings for 1961 edition surface in publisher's study

Alison Flood guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 16.17 BST


Huck and his father in one of the rediscovered Edward Ardizzone illustrations

An extremely rare collection of drawings by the much-loved children's illustrator Edward Ardizzone for Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been discovered in a publisher's study. The daughters of the late Anthony Beal, chairman of Heinemann Education and founder of the progressive New Windmill series of books, were clearing out their father's study when they stumbled across the complete set of 37 drawings. First published in 1961, the pen and ink pictures are currently being displayed at the Illustration Cupboard gallery.

"We knew Ardizzone had been a friend of dad's from his publishing days," said Kate Beal. "We came across this folder of amazing illustrations. Dad was a real hoarder and kept everything ... We decided to have this exhibition of the pictures; it's nice because it celebrates dad's work as well."

Beal is best known for his development of the New Windmill series, devised by children's author Ian Serraillier and his wife Anne. The books brought more modern, popular novels – including the edition of Huck Finn illustrated by Ardizzone – to children across Britain, the Commonwealth and Africa who had previously been fed a diet of a particular kind of 19th-century classic. "In the 1960s and 1970s it was a way of bringing classics to kids, making them more kid-friendly," said Beal. "Nowadays we wouldn't find [the Ardizzone illustrations] very child-friendly, but when they were drawn they were – a lot of kids' books didn't have illustrations in them at all."

Born in 1900, Ardizzone won the Kate Greenaway medal for his own picture book, Tim All Alone, but his watercolours and line drawings also illustrated the works of other writers, from a host of books by Eleanor Farjeon to Clive King's Stig of the Dump, Philippa Pearce's Minnow on the Say and Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales. Awarded the CBE in 1971, he died in 1979.

The Huck Finn illustrations show how, when Ardizzone made errors, he drew on top of the mistake rather than starting again; they also give an insight into the portrayal of blacks in America at the time, said Beal. "It's slightly embarrassing – they're a bit like the way black people are portrayed in Gone with the Wind," she said. "You wouldn't get away with that now. I work for a children's publisher and we are really careful about how we make our books portray people. These illustrations would not pass our criteria these days. But they were done in an innocent way; they are not meant to be racist."

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  pinhedz on Sun May 15, 2011 11:05 pm

also replacing the word "injun."
Injun Joe becomes Native American Joe?

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  eddie on Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:19 pm

Hold the sugar and spice: Mark Twain's Advice to Little Girls

The 19th-century American author wrote a wickedly dark short story for young girls


Mark Twain wrote Advice to Little Girls in 1865. Photograph: Classic Image / Alamy/Alamy

"Good little girls ought not to make mouths at their teachers for every trifling offence. This retaliation should only be resorted to under peculiarly aggravated circumstances." These words are from the pen of Mark Twain in 1865, the same year Lewis Carroll published his enduring masterpiece, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. But Twain's offering to children's literature, Advice to Little Girls, is a short story with an altogether darker view of small females.

The author dispenses wickedly funny guidance on what to do, for example, in the event of a playmate having a fancier doll than you ("You ought not to attempt a forcible swap with her, unless your conscience would justify you in it, and you know you are able to do it.") Now the father of three daughters's story has recently been republished, accompanied by pictures from New York-based author and illustrator, Vladimir Radunsky (also a father of exclusively daughters). It's hard not to imagine their close experience with female offspring is the reason the book has no trace of the idea that little girls are made of "sugar and spice and all things nice": one piece of advice tells you to not to correct a brother's behaviour with mud – but with hot water to "move impurities from his person, and possibly the skin, in spots". Ouch.

By making the advice horrid and violent and rude, it acknowledges that girls are not the passive little princesses they are often depicted as, and can be just as boisterous – and awful – as boys. It's a timely message – only this week David Beckham said of his newborn daughter: "Having a daughter is a whole new thing... you have to be a lot more delicate with girls than boys." That's just not true, David.


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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Guest on Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:46 pm

eddie wrote:Mark Twain's work should not be censored, says US poll

...what a silly idea...removing words that offend our modern sensibilities. It's such words that create a sense of the prevailing attitudes of the time, and they shouldn't be sanitised.

...I suppose with the current hysteria surrounding relationships between older men and young boys, illustrations like this might be the next target!


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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:48 am

^^

Hi Moonie

Eddie's quote says should NOT be censored.

Regarding the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I think it should be, but dependent on the reader. I read it as a kid and re-read it a couple of years ago and I certainly wouldn't let a kid of mine read the original version. Following is a short example as to why I wouldn't:-

"Now less fetch the guns and things," said Huck.

"No, Huck -- leave them there. They're just the tricks to have when we go to robbing. We'll keep them there all the time, and we'll hold our orgies there, too. It's an awful snug place for orgies."

"What orgies?"

"I dono. But robbers always have orgies, and of course we've got to have them, too. Come along, Huck, we've been in here a long time. It's getting late, I reckon. I'm hungry, too. We'll eat and smoke when we get to the skiff."

I do think it is a great book however for adults.

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:19 am

Hey Nah Ville

oops...I guess I was just responding to the idea of changing text from the original. My girls both read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. One of them has been working for the Department of Child Safety for the past 10 years (maybe there's a connection Shocked

...words change so much over time. The original meaning of 'slut' was 'a slovenly housewife!

...the etymology for 'orgy' is:

orgy
1560s, orgies (pl.) "secret rites in the worship of certain Greek and Roman gods," especially Dionysus, from M.Fr. orgies (c.1500), from L. orgia, from Gk. orgia (pl.) "secret rites,".
The singular, orgy, was first used in English 1660s for the extended sense of "any licentious revelry." OED says of the ancient rites that they were "celebrated with extravagant dancing, singing, drinking, etc.," which gives "etc." quite a workout.

...Tom was using it in the sense of 'licentious revelry' I think.

I love words. When my kids were reading I pointed out the ways word-meanings change over time. It probably peeved them no end because I got this a lot Rolling Eyes

I can't even bring myself to say the racist word, because of it's power to shock. I think it should keep that power...to hear it spring so automatically from a young boy vividly illustrates the conditioned attitude at the time. I guess I want my girls to know that's how it was and I want them to be shocked.

...but I know what you mean and understand how you feel. Very Happy


Last edited by blue moon on Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:35 am

Hi Moonie

I can't imagine I read the original as a kid, it must have been amended I am sure for the UK market. Plus I would have asked my Mum what "orgies" were and I don't remember doing that?

I think nowadays the book is so far removed from the average childhood that it would make no sense. I don't know any kids under the age of 11 that are allowed to walk to the local shop alone, let alone spend all day away from home.

The bit that I quoted also makes guns and smoking seem OK too.

As I said I do like the book, I just think it should be for adults only. Not that I think many kids would choose to read it anyway.

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:53 am

...it's so different where my kids grew up. Only 400 people in town and an amazing amount of freedom in such a small and remote community.


Last edited by blue moon on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:18 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed photos)

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:19 am

Great photo's. The kids look like they are living in Mark Twain country. Glad they had so much freedom.

In London in the 60's we had a lot of freedom too. We lived in terraced streets where everyone knew each other. In the school holidays we had complete freedom as long as we were back by dark. Things have changed a lot in London, none of my neighbours kids are allowed out of their gardens without being accompanied by adults. Sad really.

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Guest on Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:00 am

...we were living near Melbourne in the 60s. When I was 12 I came home from school and saw my Dad arrive home in a new jeep that was towing a caravan. Beaming, he said 'you never have to go back to school again. We're going travelling instead'. I didn't go back to school for 35 years, and we were on the road for seven.

The things we saw! Every dirt track and dusty town imaginable. We saw the last of the Indigenous population herded around the outskirts of those dusty towns, and in one town I saw little kids having rocks thrown at them when they tried to go to school, and heard the wailing of their mothers when a van came at night to take the kids away because they weren't showing up at school...a frightening event not least because my sisters and brother and I weren't going to school either.

Dad was a drinker but a peaceful one. Mum was a different story because she mixed drinking with a biscuit-tin full of the various pills for her 'nerves'...pills that were legal then but outlawed now.

We finally settled in a tin-pot frontier town in the throes of a gold-rush...not real gold but a rush for untold tons
of prawns...I spent seven years at sea.

...Huck Finn was light reading Very Happy

...I just posted a poem I wrote some time ago, in the poetry thread, to leave this thread clear for Mark Twain)

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 am

Who cares about Huckleberry Finn? We've got Moony's adventures! hehehe

When I was a child we could spent all the time we wanted to in the street as long as we had lunch, went to school and slept at home. I remember summer nights were the most exciting time to play: from playing hide and seek in the back streets to going to a field without buildings nor illumination and spending our time there laying a fire or doing whatever (we called it the mountain but it wasn't a mountain hehe). It was good but now I don't see children playing in the street as much as we did.

I remember that things like penknives or cigarettes were something very attractive. I don't know how much a book can stimulate a child to it.

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Re: Mark Twain

Post  pinhedz on Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:07 am

My mother had 6 children, so during the 4 months when we were not in school, all she wanted was for us to get out of the house, and only come back at meal time.

My father was a doctor, and there were a few times he berated me for not coming to him when wounded, because some wounds need stitches to reduce the permanent scars (but there is nothing cooler than permanent scars Very Happy ).

I knew an orgy was a wild party. One of my friends was plotting the perfect crime, but we got caught and had to do community service. I gave up smoking before I turned 18--I couldn't afford it.

I vote for not censoring any of it.

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