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This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
Mark Twain, the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, a port on the Mississippi River. As a teenager, he began writing short sketches for his brother's newspaper. When he was older, Clemens became a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, a job that ended with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. He continued to work as a newspaper reporter, and in 1863 began signing his articles with the name Mark Twain, a Mississippi River phrase meaning "two fathoms deep." In 1865, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published, and became a sensation nationwide. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER was published in 1876, but it was its sequel, HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1884), that is acknowledged as Twain's greatest work. A masterpiece of American literature, the novel is notable among other things for its uniquely American subject and its brilliant use of dialect. Twain's works in general are full of the author's satiric humor, his disdain for pretension and hypocrisy, and his brilliant characterizations.
"'Huckleberry Finn' is, among other things, a complex, serious book. And it should be taught as such--to children old enough to think and read with imagination. The supposedly racially insensitive tale, with its repeated use of the word 'nigger,' is the most devastating portrait of American white trash and white-trash racism that has ever been written. 'Huck Finn' savages racism as thoroughly as any document in American history...After 'Huckleberry Finn' was published in 1885, the Public Library in Concord, Massachusetts, banned the book. As the 'Boston Transcript' reported: 'One member of the committee says that, while he does not wish to call it immoral, he thinks it contains but little humor, and that of a very coarse type. He regards it as the veriest trash. The librarian and the other members of the committee entertain similar views, characterizing it as rough, coarse, and inelegant.'"
"....We come to see Huck...as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction; not unworthy to take a place with 'Ulysses', 'Faust', 'Don Quixote', 'Don Juan', 'Hamlet', and other great discoveries that man has made about himself."
"In 1902, the Omaha Public Library banned 'Huckleberry Finn' on the grounds that 'the influence upon the youthful mind is pernicious.' 'The Omaha World Herald' sent Mark Twain a telegram. His response: 'I am tearfully afraid this noise is doing much harm. It has started a number of hitherto spotless people to reading 'Huck Finn', out of a natural human curiosity to learn what this is all about--people who had not heard of him before; people whose morals will go to wreck and ruin now...The publishers are glad, but it makes me want to borrow a handkerchief and cry. I should be sorry to think it was the publishers themselves that got up this entire little flutter to enable them to unload a book that was taking too much room in their cellars, but you never can tell what a publisher will do. I have been one myself."
"The gigantic amorphousness of our past makes impossible, or merely idle, any attempt to fix in the form of idea the meaning of nationality. But more truly with 'Huckleberry Finn' than with any other book, inquiry may satisfy itself; here is America."
"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called 'Huckleberry Finn'."
"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
"'Huckleberry Finn' has never really struggled up out of a continuous vortex of discord, and probably never will, as long as its enchanting central figures, with their confused and incalculable feelings for each other, remain symbols of our own racial confusion."
From the Publisher
You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.
Twain spent seven years writing this classic novel--the book Hemingway claimed is the basis for all American fiction. The story of Huck's and Jim's quest for freedom on a raft on the Mississippi provides a panoramic view of Southern society, which Twain saw as beset by greed, violence, and coldhearted brutality. At the end, Huck definitively abandons the conventional cant which he has been raised to believe in when he makes the decision to go to hell rather than betray his friend Jim and send him back to slavery. The book has been banned from time to time, beginning with its publication when it was deemed too subversive for children, until in the late 20th century when, despite its sympathetic attitude toward blacks and is violent denunciation of slavery, it has been branded racist largely because Twain's use of dialect and "offensive" language.