Why do we value fresh translations of older texts in other languages, but don't care too much for modern versions of classics in our own language? I thought about this after writing an updated translation of Matthew 12:46-50, and after reading the piece about a major publisher's plan to abridge mammoths like Moby-Dick.
We justify the new translations in several ways, but I'm most interested in the claim that the new version better does justice to the original. What if the original doesn't do justice to itself? Is it wrong to suggest that someone could give Huck Finn a more realistic conclusion, or un-lag everything Henry James ever wrote?
Maybe it's just being inculcated in the remake-remix culture that makes heresy so attractive.
Update 5/4: I wonder if JRR Tolkien would approve of his son's creative appropriation of his legacy.