At Christian Brothers Academy, Eric Knuths 9th grade writing students recently discussed the censorship controversy surrounding a reprint of “Mark Twains Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The NewSouth Edition” by Dr. Alan Gribben. Gribben is an English professor at Auburn University and a noted Mark Twain scholar. He recently published a combined version of Twains “Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that replaced racial slurs with more acceptable terms like “slave.” His actions have become widely controversial, as many criticize his audacity in censoring what are considered classic pieces of American literature.
Before forming an opinion, CBA student Connor Agnew 14 decided to reach out to Gribben to get his side of the story, and the two engaged in the following e-mail exchange:
Dear Mr. Gribben,
Recently in class we read an article that talked about you editing the Mark Twin piece, Huckleberry Finn. After we read the article, I heard a lot of comments about how you shouldnt have edited this book. My class also went online and looked up others opinions and found that they also disagreed with you. During the entire class I was trying to find out something that showed your side of the argument. The thing is that I couldnt. When I got home, I researched the story more, but once again I couldnt find anybody who had heard your side of the ordeal. All I want is to hear why you edited the story. I understand if you do not respond because I imagine that you have a lot on your plate. I am a ninth grader in New York.