One of the greatest — and one of the most controversial — novels in American history, complete with the illustrations from the original 1884 printing! What begins as a sequel to Mark Twain's incredibly popular The Adventures of Tom Sawyer grows into an ambitious, sprawling, funny, and uniquely American epic. Huck Finn is a mischievous boy, caught between a confining life with his legal guardian and an abusive life under his drunkard father. So naturally, he fakes his own death, teams up with a runaway slave named Jim, and takes off on a raft down the Mississippi River. The duo's ensuing adventures offer a chance for Twain to satirize the bygone world of the antebellum South, most notably taking a sometimes scathing, sometimes troubling, look at racism. The book remains one of the most essential, and one of the most entertaining, works in American literature.
In this centenary year of the first American edition of Huckleberry Finn, Neider, who has worked long and well in the thickets of Twain scholarship (this is the ninth Twain volume he has edited), offers a most fitting tribute, for which he will be thanked in some quarters, damned in others. Neider's contribution is twofold: he has restored to its rightful place the great rafting chapter, which the author had lifted from the manuscript-in-progress and dropped into Life on the Mississippi, and he has abridged some of the childish larkiness in the portions in which Huck's friend Tom Sawyer intrudes into this novel. For decades, critics have lamented the absence of the "missing'' chapter and deplored the jarring presence of Tom in episodes that slow the narrative, but not until now has anyone had the temerity to set matters right. In paring back the ``Tom'' chapters (which he fully documents in his lengthy, spirited introduction, with literal line counts of the excised material), Neider has achieved a brisker read. Though there may be some brickbats thrown at him for this ``sacrilege,'' few should object to the belated appearance of the transplanted rafting chapter in the novel in which it clearly belongs. October 25
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A Very Meaningful Read!
I just finished re-reading this book after decades devoted to becoming an adult. Well aware of the fact that the book has been banned or "cleaned up" to remove the N word, I sat down to read it with an open mind and only vague recollections of the details of the story development.
What a wonderful book! It should be required reading at University level for those studying sociology AND literature. The narrative easily establishes the root of our racial difficulties today and the hypocrisies of racial discrimination. With today's sensitivities surrounding the use of the N word I have to endorse the decision NOT to include it on reading list for youngsters as the titillation of the word would surely overload the ability to see the reality of the social mores of the times in which it was written and describes.
But it clearly and vividly paints a picture of a social structure that was entrenched and endorsed as both acceptable and moral. The confusion that Huck feels when Tom agrees to help free Jim is a snapshot of the dilemma; freeing Jim feels like the right thing to do but it goes against good breeding and the righteous behavior expected of a boy from a good family. This is an insight that also helps to explain the ease with which the N word is used; it has no more emotional impact than saying "woman" as a descriptive of gender, but in today' s world it is rightfully despicable and a hateful word...so much so that I cannot bring myself to use it, even in quotes.
I'm so glad I re-read it now that I have age and experience under my belt!
This book was a very interesting, exciting, suspenseful, and entrancing book. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shows Mark Twain's talent in writing. I completely lobed this book, and hope you will too!
I love it!