‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ – Removing the N Word from Huck Finn: Top 10 Censored Books – TIME

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

By Mark Twain

In 1885, the Concord Public Library in Massachusetts banned the year-old book for its “coarse language” — critics deemed Mark Twain’s use of common vernacular (slang) as demeaning and damaging. A reviewer dubbed it “the veriest trash … more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people.” Little Women author Louisa May Alcott lashed out publicly at Twain, saying, “If Mr. Clemens [Twain’s original name] cannot think of something better to tell our pure-minded lads and lasses he had best stop writing for them.” (That the N word appears more than 200 times throughout the book did not initially cause much controversy.) In 1905, the Brooklyn Public Library in New York followed Concord’s lead, banishing the book from the building’s juvenile section with this explanation: “Huck not only itched but scratched, and that he said sweat when he should have said perspiration.” Twain enthusiastically fired back, and once said of his detractors: “ is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” Luckily for him, the book’s fans would eventually outnumber its critics. “It’s the best book we’ve had,” Ernest Hemingway proclaimed. “All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

The full list of Time’s top 10 censored books is

* The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

* Lolita

* The Catcher in the Rye

* Harry Potter Series

* The Anarchist Cookbook

* I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

* Candide

* 1984

* The Satanic Verses

* Brave New World

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