"I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote 'Tom Sawyer' & 'Huck Finn' for adults exclusively, & it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, & to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave."What a trouble-maker.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Sam Clemens Weighs In
Once again, on the notion of deleting the word nigger from Huckleberry Finn: My friend Jane sent me this link to a story in the Christian Science Monitor that quotes the reaction of Samuel L. Clemens to the news that the Brooklyn Public Library was considering banning Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer because of their "coarseness, deceitfulness, and mischievous practices." Clemens wrote: