Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Norton Critical Edition

( 426 )

Overview

This perennially popular Norton Critical Edition reprints for the first time the definitive Iowa-California text of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, complete with all original illustrations by Edward Windsor Kemble and John Harley. The text is accompanied by explanatory annotations.
"Contexts and Sources" provides readers with a rich selection of documents related to the historical background, language, composition, sale, reception, and newly discovered first half of the ...
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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Overview

This perennially popular Norton Critical Edition reprints for the first time the definitive Iowa-California text of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, complete with all original illustrations by Edward Windsor Kemble and John Harley. The text is accompanied by explanatory annotations.
"Contexts and Sources" provides readers with a rich selection of documents related to the historical background, language, composition, sale, reception, and newly discovered first half of the manuscript of Mark Twain's greatest work. Included are letters on the writing of the novel, excerpts from the author's autobiography, samples of bad poetry that inspired his satire (including an effort by young Sam Clemens himself), a section on the censorship of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by schools and libraries over a hundred-year period, and commentary by David Carkeet on dialects of the book and by Earl F. Briden on its "racist" illustrations. In addition, this section reprints the full texts of both "Sociable Jimmy," upon which is based the controversial theory that Huck speaks in a "black voice," and "A True Story, Repeated Word for Word As I Heard It," the first significant attempt by Mark Twain to capture the speech of an African American in print.
"Criticism" of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is divided into "Early Responses" (including the first negative review) and "Modern Views" by Victor A. Doyno, T. S. Eliot, Jane Smiley, David L. Smith, Shelley Fisher Fishkin (the "black voice" thesis), James R. Kincaid (a rebuttal of Fishkin), and David R. Sewell. Also included is Toni Morrison's moving personal "Introduction" to the troubling experience of reading and re-reading Mark Twain's masterpiece.
“A Chronology and Selected Bibliography” are also included.

Recounts the adventures of a young boy and an escaped slave as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft.

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Editorial Reviews

Ernest Hemingway
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393966404
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 35,430
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known to the world by his pen-name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist, noted for his novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876, among many others.

Thomas Cooley (PhD, Indiana University) is professor of English at The Ohio State University. In addition to Back to the Lake, he is the editor of The Norton Sampler, The Norton Critical Edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the author of several other books, among them Educated Lives: The Rise of Modern Autobiography in America and The Ivory Leg in the Ebony Cabinet: Madness, Race, and Gender in Victorian America.

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

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. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied, one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly--Tom&rsquos Aunt Polly, she is--and Mary, and the Widow Douglas, is all told about in that book--which is mostly a true book; with some stretchers, as I said before.

Now the way that the book winds up, is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece--all gold. It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher, he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece, all the year round--more than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer, I lit out. I got into my old rags, and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer, he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat, andfeel all cramped up. Well, then, the old thing commenced again. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them. That is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers; and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by-and-by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him; because I don't take no stock in dead people.

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it any more. That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don't know nothing about it. Here she was a bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now, with a spelling-book. She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, 'Don't put your feet up there, Huckleberry;' and 'don't scrunch up like that, Huckleberry--set up straight;' and pretty soon she would say, 'Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry--why don't you try to behave?' Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad, then, but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.
Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and, she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome. By-and-by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of candle and put it on the table. Then I set down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars was shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me and I couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave and has to go about that way every night grieving. I got so down-hearted and scared, I did wish I had some company. Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of me. I got up and turned around in my tracks three times and crossed my breast every time; and then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away. But I hadn't no confidence. You do that when you've lost a horse-shoe that you've found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn't ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when you'd killed a spider.

I set down again, a shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death, now, and so the widow wouldn't know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town go boom--boom--boom--twelve licks--and all still again--stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap, down in the dark amongst the trees--something was a stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I could just barely hear a 'me-yow! me-yow!' down there. That was good! Says I, 'me-yow! me-yow!' as soft as I could, and then I put out the light and scrambled out of the window onto the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in amongst the trees, and sure enough there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 426 )
Rating Distribution

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(237)

4 Star

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3 Star

(51)

2 Star

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(48)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 446 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Pass for a Better Version

    The story is a classic but this e-version was not the worst nor the best. There are funny breaks and odd fonts randomly placed through the story. It is worth looking for a better e-version.

    18 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Incredible book

    Even though I'm sure a lot of people hear this is a classic and think it's just some old book, I have to say I love The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The characters are incredible. The dialogue is often hilarious and tragic. It's just an all-around incredible novel.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    A very good book

    I like this book very much. It does get a little boring in the middle, but the ending is my favorite! It's worth reading.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

    Great Work

    Twain initially conceived of the work as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer that would follow Huck Finn through adulthood. Beginning with a few pages he had removed from the earlier novel, Twain began work on a manuscript he originally titled Huckleberry Finn's Autobiography. Twain worked on the manuscript off and on for the next several years, ultimately abandoning his original plan of following Huck's development into adulthood. He appeared to have lost interest in the manuscript while it was in progress, and set it aside for several years. After making a trip down the Mississippi, Twain returned to his work on the novel. Upon completion, the novel's title closely paralleled its predecessor's: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade).
    Unlike The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not have the definite article "the" as a part of its proper title. Essayist and critic Spencer Neve states that this absence represents the "never fulfilled anticipations" of Huck's adventures-while Tom's adventures were completed (at least at the time) by the end of his novel, Huck's narrative ends with his stated intention to head West

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Classic

    The audiobook assisted with the understanding of the dialects of the characters, similar to a play but with the images in your mind.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    Huckleberry Finn

    BORING. With occasional excitment. Hard to understand at times because of the old english language the characters use, but overall well written. I just wish it could have been a little more of a page turner. I prefer Tom Sawyer over Huck Finn.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    historically correct/politically incorrect

    This appears to be the original text of the story with the "N" would used very frequently. NOT the version I read in school or wish my child to read at his age (9). Still a good story but be mindful if that word is not one you wish to read

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Readable version

    It is easy to read and understand.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Excellent novel!

    This classic story is a marvelous example of Mark Twain's writing skills and of his prominence as a writer. This story is hilarious and heartwarming, and is sure to enchant anyone who reads it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Very good

    I love this book, very interesting.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Great Book!

    A very favorited classic.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Wwonderful book

    I loved reading this book from front to back it is on of the greaatest books ive ever read ndd ull love it too

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 1999

    A great book, perhaps misunderstood

    Ok guys, this book is actually really good. It is filled with delightful humor and perspective into what life use to be like. I highly recomend it to anyone, though some individuals may need a dictionary, the syntax is awesome. I understand that Huckleberry Finn might have somewhat of a bad reputation but i think its just misunderstood.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Test this!

    Testing 123

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Anonymous

    There's actually a free version of this book on the nook . It's no different . The only thing you wouldn't like is the fact that it has no cover . But I don't think people would make such a fuss for a cover .

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Lolz

    Lolz

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Good book but hard to read

    I love the story but when they talk it is kinda hard to umderstand because they talk with a southern acent. If you can get past that it is a good book for 10-12 yo.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    :)

    JUST SAW TOM SAWYER PLAY IT WAS AWESOME

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Good book good book good book

    Good book

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2004

    Whoever gives this a terrible rating needs their head examined!

    I can't type much, seein' as how I've got to be off finishing my report on Twain, but would like to say just a few things first. One! this is an excellent book and is written in an excellent style. Twain uses the language of the time, and that really gives life to the story. As a story itself it is extreemly exciting and is worth your time! Two! the people who said this book is boring really do need to get their head examined. This is not just a story about some kids trying to be bandits in a club, or some kid and his nigger floating down the mississippi on a raft. This book was written by Twain to deal with the moral and racial issues of the time. Much of which (especially in the moral bit) still applies today, which makes it one of the most highly regarded American Novels of all time. I could ramble on about much more but really I must finish my bit on Huck Finn and then start on my bit for Connecticut Yankee

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 446 Customer Reviews

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