Amazon Hawks Censored Joseph Conrad Book, Calibrated for Delicate 'Modern' Eyes

Amazon Hawks Censored Joseph Conrad Book, Calibrated for Delicate 'Modern' Eyes

Amazon recently added this gem, from a conservative publisher concerned with "the phenomenon of manipulation based in white guilt." So white guilty they changed Joseph Conrad's title, The Nigger of Narcissus, to The N-Word of Narcissus.

Here's the production description, including a rather anachronistic gloss:

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.

There's a metaphor in WordBridge's clunky attempt to turn The Nigger and the Narcissus into becoming modern conservative allegory, laying bare the right's habit of glossing over complexity with ludicrously simplified out-of-context word games. I mean, they sort of have a point about the word, though. In The Cambridge Introduction to Joseph Conrad, John Gerard Peters writes:

The unfortunately titled The Nigger of the Narcissus (titled Children of the Sea in the first American edition) is Conrad's best work of his early period. In fact, were it not for the book's title, it undoubtedly would be read more often than it is currently.

But mostly: Wouldn't it be funny if this edition somehow became a must-read, and a generation of right-wing luminaries actually ended up saying "the N-word" in the same breath that they explained why black kids shouldn't have equal representation in higher education?