- Lexile Measure: 980 (What's this?)
- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1ª ed., 1ª imp. edition (December 31, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0142437174
- ISBN-13: 978-0142437179
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3,478 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Penguin Classics) 1ª ed., 1ª imp. Edition
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"All modern American literature comes from [this] one book." —Ernest Hemingway
About the Author
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimental—and also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called “the Lincoln of our literature.”
John Seelye is a graduate research professor of American literature at the University of Florida. He is the author of The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain at the Movies, Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Literature, Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the Early Republic, Memory's Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock, and War Games: Richard Harding Davis and the New Imperialism. He is also the consulting editor for Penguin Classics in American literature.
Guy Cardwell has written several books on Mark Twain and is emeritus professor of English at Washington University
Top customer reviews
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The appeal of the book, particularly its 'story' for the average contemporary reader will be somewhat less. We might find the humor to be a bit 'rough and rustic.' Readers in Twain's lifetime made a similar complaint. 'Coarse' things like death, murder, mutilation and the like are plainly spoken of by and/or in front of a boy who is not yet an adolescent. Some times the humor is a bit 'rough and ready.' Twain, himself, is a product of his early experiences near or on the American Frontier.
Given that this is a major work in our literary history, what does an 'annotated edition' offer? The editor, Michael Patrick Hearn is generally cited as the foremost Twain scholar of his generation. He begins by offering a major body of information about Twain's life, his work as an author and lecturer, his trials and tribulations in bringing 'Huckleberry Finn' to the public, critical reaction to the work and so on. An 'appreciation' is offered of the work and its place in American Literature. This is only fitting and proper for this type of scholarly edition. It is done to my satisfaction and the result will be more than helpful to serious students of the book. A vast range of resources has been brought to bear in the annotations, including alternate texts of passages where they can be found in Twain's copious notes and draft manuscripts. Anyone who doubts that 'writing is work' will soon be disabused if they peruse these annotations, which appear close to the relevant passages in the text. Very generous attention is given to the illustrations provided with two major editions of the work, including other illustrations from Tom Sawyer. These illustrations were offered by two artists, one picked by Twain and the second one an artist Twain came to respect the more he looked at the work.
So why 'only' four stars? Even with some interest in the book, I was almost overcome by the information added to the text of the novel. Some of the annotations seemed to be less essential than others and might have been excluded without 'harm.' Mr. Hearn has gone the extra mile to be 'comprehensive' in documenting comments on the novel and in providing explanations of vernacular words or bits of cultural background from the time.