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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [Paperback]

Mark Twain
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (944 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul. The recent discovery of the first half of Twain's manuscript, long thought lost, made front-page news. And this unprecedented edition, which contains for the first time omitted episodes and other variations present in the first half of the handwritten manuscript, as well as facsimile reproductions of thirty manuscript pages, is indispensable to a full understanding of the novel. The changes, deletions, and additions made in the first half of the manuscript indicate that Mark Twain frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational book than the one he finally published. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Considered the first great American novel, part of Finn's charm is the wisdom and sobering social criticism deftly lurking amongst the seemingly innocent observations of the uneducated Huck and the even-less-educated escaped slave, Jim. William Dufris's voice, unpretentious and disarming, like the book's main characters, seems the perfect armature on which to hang this literary strategy. Although he does an expert job with the entire cast, Dufris's delivery of Jim's dialogue is his crowning achievement. Out of context, Dufris's Jim might sound mocking and racist, due to his expert delivery of Twain's regional vernacular. Ignorance and intelligence, however, are not mutually exclusive, and taken as a whole, Jim's mind and heart come shining through, allowing the listener to reflect on their own assumptions. Tantor Media includes the entire text as a digital e-book on the final CD, a wise and thoughtful move in a market with swift and changing currents.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-All the highwater tales of Huck's journey are in this abridged versionAhis faked death, the Jackson Island sojourn, the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, the Duke and the King, and his reunion with Tom Sawyer. Along the way, we are treated to a sensual feast of the sights, smells, and rhythms of the Mississippi River and the humanistic education of Huck that culminates in his assisting in Jim's escape. The familiar adventures of Huck and runaway slave Jim's odyssey on a raft floating down the Mississippi have been well documented previously in audio format with noted versions read by Ed Begley, Will Wheaton (both from Dove), and the 1985 Grammy nominated Durkin Hayes production read by Dick Cavett. This version, beautifully read by actor Mike McShane, is a wonderful contribution to the recorded Twain canon. McShane handles multiple characterizations well, but excels in Huck's folksy narrative voice and Jim's understated power and dignity. School and public libraries should not miss this excellent rendition.
Barry X. Miller, Austin Public Library, TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This paperback release of the restored edition of Finn includes four previously unknown episodes discovered in 1990 when the first half of the original handwritten manuscript was unearthed (Classic Returns, LJ 4/15/96). It also includes the original illustrations and reproductions of 29 original pages. Considering the book's importance to American letters, this complete edition is essential for all libraries.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. It's the best book we've had." --Ernest Hemingway


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14-18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. The series will be extensive and open-ended and will provide school students with a range of edited texts taken from a wide geographical spread. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words.

This Electronic Paperback is illustrated. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"A GOLD MINE FOR SCHOLARS."

*Deidre Carmody

The New York Times



Now, in this extraordinary literary discovery, the original first half of Mark Twain's American masterpiece is available for the first time ever to a general readership. Lost for more than a century, the passages reinstated in this edition reveal a novel even more controversial than the version Twain published in 1885, and provide an invaluable insight into his creative process.



The changes that Mark Twain made indicate that he frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational work than the book he finally published. Even in its smallest variations, the original manuscript demonstrates the skill, the restraint, and the constraints that affected Mark Twain's thinking. This edition, then, not only presents the Huckleberry Finn that has delighted and provoked readers everywhere for more than a century, but also brings forward the original book behind the book.



A breakthrough of unparalleled impact, this comprehensive edition of an American classic is the final rebuttal in the tireless debate of "what Mark Twain really meant."



"[A] masterly restoration . . . I wish this new version of Huckleberry Finn would be distributed to all the nation's classrooms as the basic text and lead to a badly needed reconsideration of the questions it raises."

*James A. McPherson

Chicago Tribune



"Thoughtfully respects Twain's intentions."

*Gary Lee Stronum

The Cleveland Plain Dealer



With a foreword and addendum by Victor Doyno --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"....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." --T.S. Eliot --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835. He trained as a river-boat pilot, but turned to journalism after the Civil War, and published his first short story in 1865. He is also the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Robert O'Meally's Introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

As an African-American who came of age in the 1960s, I first encountered Huckleberry Finn in a fancy children's edition with beautifully printed words and illustrations on thick pages, a volume bought as part of a mail-order series by my ambitious parents. While I do not remember ever opening that particular book-as a junior high schooler I was more drawn to readings about science or my baseball heroes-I do recall a sense of pride that I owned it: that a classic work was part of the furniture of my bedroom and of my life. Later I would discover Twain's ringing definition of a classic as "something everyone wants to have read but nobody wants to read."



Like many others of that generation-and then I suppose of every American generation that has followed-I was assigned the book as part of a college course. Actually I was taught the book twice, once in a course in modern fiction classics (along with Cervantes, Mann, Conrad, Wolfe, Faulkner), then in a course tracing great themes in American literature, including those of democracy and race. In both these classes, Mark Twain and his Huckleberry Finn appeared as heroic and timeless exemplars of modernism in terms of both literary form and progressive political thought. Here was an American novel told not from the standpoint or in the language of Europe but from the position of the poor but daring and brilliant river-rat Huck, whose tale was spun in lingo we could tell was plain Americanese-why, anybody could tell it, as the boy himself might say.



His was a story of eager flight from the rigidities of daily living, particularly from those institutions that as youngsters we love to hate: family, school, church, the hometown itself. That white Huckleberry's flight from commonplace America included a deep, true friendship with black Jim, who began the novel as a slave in Huck's adopted family, proved Huck's trust of his own lived experience and feelings: his integrity against a world of slavery and prejudice based on skin color. Huck's discovery that he was willing to take the risks involved in assisting Jim in his flight from slavery connected the youngster with the freedom struggle not only of blacks in America but of all Americans seeking to live up to the standards of our most sacred national documents. Here was democracy without the puffery, e pluribus unum at its most radical level of two friends from different racial (but very similar cultural) backgrounds loving one another. Here too was a personal declaration of independence in action, an American revolution (and some would say also a civil war) fought first within Huck's own heart and then along the Mississippi River, the great brown god that many have said stands almost as a third major character in this novel of hard-bought freedom and fraternity, of consciousness and conscientiousness.



I understood these themes as supporting the civil rights movement of that era, and, further, as significant correctives to sixties black nationalism, which too often left too little space, in my view, for black-white friendships and, alas, for humor, without which no revolution I was fighting for was worth the sacrifice. In those days, Huckleberry Finn was also part of my arsenal of defenses against those who questioned my decision to major in literature during the black revolution; for me, it served to justify art itself not just as entertainment but as equipment for living and even as a form of political action. For here was a book whose message of freedom had been so forcefully articulated that it was still sounding clearly all these years later, all over the world. What was I doing in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond that was as courageous and selfless (and yet as individually self-defining)-as profoundly revolutionary-as Huck's act of helping to rescue Jim?



And yet I do have to say that even in those student days of first discovering this novel, I was troubled by the figure of Jim, with whom, from the very beginning, I found it impossible to identify. Though as a college sophomore or junior I wrote an earnest essay in defense of Jim as a wise man whose "superstitions" could be read as connections to a proud "African" system of communal beliefs and earned adjustments to a turbulent and dangerous new world, it was definitely Huck whose point of view I adopted, while Jim remained a shadowy construction whose buffoonery and will to cooperate with white folks' foolishness embarrassed and infuriated me. Then too the novel's casual uses of the word "nigger" always made my stomach tighten. Years later, when I read about black students, parents, and teachers who objected to the novel's repeated use of this inflammatory word, I knew just what they meant. Lord knows, as a student I had sat in classes where "Nigger Jim" (that much-bandied title never once used by Twain but weirdly adopted by innumerable teachers and scholars, including some of the best and brightest, as we shall see) was discussed by my well-intentioned white classmates and professors whose love of the novel evidently was unimpeded by this brutal language. (Did some of them delight in the license to use this otherwise taboo term? What might that have meant?)



Using some of these ideas about democracy and race (including some of my doubts and questions), for fifteen years I taught Huckleberry Finn at Howard, at Wesleyan, and then at Barnard. And then somehow my battered paperback, my several lectures, and my fat folder of articles by some of the novel's great critics-Eliot, Hemingway, Ellison, Trilling, Robert Penn Warren, Henry Nash Smith-all were set aside. I suppose that one problem was simply that the book was taught too much-that students came to me having worn out their own copies already. And too often they seemed to respond not to the book itself but to bits and pieces of the classic hymns of critical (and uncritical) praise, grist for the term-paper-writer and standardized-test-taker's mill. In recent years, when I wanted to teach Twain again, I turned to the novel Pudd'nhead Wilson, with its own tangled problems of racial and national masks and masquerades; to short fiction and essays (including perhaps his funniest piece of writing, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses"; see "For Further Reading"), and to The Mysterious Stranger, in which wry, darkly wise Satan drops in on a hamlet very much like the ones of Twain's best-known fictions, including Huckleberry Finn. One of Satan's messages is close to Huck's, too: that it is better to be dead than to endure the ordinary villager's humdrum (and very violent) life.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Twain's classic of American realism is given a serviceable narration by Garrick Hagon, who voices the many personalities and dialects clearly. What is missing is the sense of wonder the boy-narrator experiences from lying on a raft and looking at the sky, from noticing the beauties of the majestic river and its traffic, and especially (in Chapter 31) from his soul-shaking battle with his conscience, one of the great passages of world literature. Pace is another casualty. Hagon maintains a mostly consistent pace, which fails at times to capitalize on some of the dramatic moments. In sum, this is a respectful reading of a famously disrespectful book, so this unabridged recording is welcome but not definitive. G.H. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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