- Lexile Measure: 480 (What's this?)
- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (January 27, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486400778
- ISBN-13: 978-0486400778
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,480 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Dover Thrift Editions) Revised ed. Edition
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From the Back Cover
In this classic story, Mark Twain re-created a long-ago world of freshly whitewashed fences and Sunday school picnics into which sordid characters and violent incidents sometimes intruded. The tale powerfully appeals to both adult and young imaginations. Readers explore this memorable setting with a slyly humorous born storyteller as their guide.
Tom and Huck Finn conceal themselves in the town cemetery, where they witness a grave robbery and a murder. Later, the boys, feeling unappreciated, hide out on a forested island while the townspeople conduct a frantic search and finally mourn them as dead. The friends triumphantly return to town to attend their own funeral, in time for a dramatic trial for the graveyard murder. A three-day ordeal ensues when Tom and his sweetheart, Becky Thatcher, lose their way in the very cave that conceals the murderer.
With its hilarious accounts of boyish pranks and its shrewd assessments of human nature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has captivated generations of readers of all ages.
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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.