To justify its decision further, the publisher noted that curious readers could easily view the cartoons online. Here, at least, Klausen is clearly at odds with her publisher. In the text, she warns readers that “the longevity of such sites is unpredictable and they are often marred by obscene commentary and misleading translations of the Danish captions.”
In any case, it is important to understand the context in which the author, a professional scholar, proposed to publish the drawings. Yale had the opportunity to reprint the images accurately, with precise translations, under the aegis of one of the world’s foremost universities. And there was in fact a precedent: in 2006, Harper’s ran the twelve cartoons with an accompanying essay by Art Spiegelman, who wrote that “these now infamous and banal Danish cartoons need actually to be seen to be understood.”
That is the fundamental argument the press chose not to heed. Klausen has still written an important, thorough history of the Danish cartoon controversy, based on sound scholarship. It is unfortunate that her publisher prevented it from being a comprehensive one.
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