Rewriting the Classics

Literature that is very old has a slight problem. When they were written the authors didn’t have the advantage of our modern knowledge, they didn’t have scientific discoveries, science journals, the internet, massive libraries, etc. The advances that human knowledge has made in the last 150 years is astounding.

But does that mean we should rewrite the classics? Sometimes it is beneficial to leave texts just the way they were written, as it gives us an insight into the period in which they were written. A great example is Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, people want to edit out the racist references, yet that would remove part of the context for the struggle Jim goes through in the story. But in other cases you are merely perpetuating factual inaccuracies by teaching and reading kids some classics. As a result it is sometimes important to rewrite these texts to display our updated understandings of the world.

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