- Lexile Measure: 650 (What's this?)
- Series: Modern Library Classics
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (August 14, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375757376
- ISBN-13: 978-0375757372
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,478 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Modern Library Classics) Modern Library Edition
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"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called "Huckleberry Finn". . . . There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." --Ernest Hemingway
From the Inside Flap
'All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn, ' Ernest Hemingway wrote. 'It's the best book we've had.' A complex masterpiece that has spawned volumes of scholarly exegesis and interpretative theories, it is at heart a compelling adventure story. Huck, in flight from his murderous father, and Nigger Jim, in flight from slavery, pilot their raft thrillingly through treacherous waters, surviving a crash with a steamboat, betrayal by rogues, and the final threat from the bourgeoisie. Informing all this is the presence of the River, described in palpable detail by Mark Twain, the former steamboat pilot, who transforms it into a richly metaphoric entity. Twain's other great innovation was the language of the book itself, which is expressive in a completely original way. 'The invention of this language, with all its implications, gave a new dimension to our literature, ' Robert Penn Warren noted. 'It is a language capable of poetry.'
"From the eBook edition.
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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.