Thursday, January 07, 2010

Publisher gives Joseph Conrad a makeover

I read this novel some years back and always wondered when it would come under fire:
"In order to protect the public’s delicate sensibilities, conservative Netherlands-based Christian publisher WordBridge Publishing has reprinted Joseph Conrad’s The N*gger of the Narcissus as The N-word of the Narcissus. According to the publisher’s website, “the past needs to [be] translated into the present.”

The book, now on sale via Amazon for $9.99, includes this description from the publisher:
WordBridge Publishing has performed a public service in putting Joseph Conrad’s neglected classic into a form accessible to modern readers. This new version addresses the reason for its neglect: the profusion of the so-called n-word throughout its pages. Hence, the introduction of “n-word” throughout the text, to remove this offence to modern sensibilities. The N-word of the Narcissus tells the tale of a fateful voyage of a British sailing ship, and on that voyage the ability of a lone black man to take the crew hostage. The ability of this man to manipulate an entire ship’s crew can no longer be seen as a mere exercise in storytelling. Conrad in fact appears to have been the first to highlight the phenomenon of manipulation based in white guilt.

Where to draw the line between “public service” and censorship? Is it better to read this strangely titled version rather than the original? Judging by the one-star Amazon reviews and the reaction of the online community, maybe not.


I think the blurb is quite wrong. The tale is simply about a black who is a lazy whiner -- but I suppose you are not allowed to say that. But, like most Conrad, it is a good story.

Marx and Engels used the word "n*gger" a lot. I wonder will their collected works now get a similar editing? Could be, I guess.


Anonymous said...

OMG are they serious.... they replaced "nigger" with "N-word"? That is absurd, we all know what "N-word" means so why play this stupid, moronic game and just use the actual word.... I swear apes just became smarter than people.

Anonymous said...

As we all know, there's no group of people on earth who use the word "nigger" more than blacks do. Also, i never hear any protest when blacks use a long list of derogatory words to describe Whites.

But i must say, i'm a bit surprised at you Jon for being so "PC-ized" that you're afraid to use that word in your comments. We can never hope to cleanse ourselves of the insidious, anti-freedom, virus known as political correctness until we become honest.

Bobby said...

Are they gonna edit Huckelberry Finn and Gone with the Wind now? Those are classics, they should be kept as they were written.

Robert said...

John may be just taking extra cautions to avoid raising red flags with Google and automated filters.

Anonymous said...

That just makes the problem worse.