Monday, December 10, 1984

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published 100 years ago today

First posted 6/17/2020; last updated 7/6/2020.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

First Publication: December 10, 1884

Category: young adult novel

Sales: 20 million


About the Book:

Ernest Hemingway said, “All modern American literature comes from…Huckleberry Finn…There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” BN Lionel Trilling said, “One can read it at ten and then annually ever after, and each year find that it is as fresh as the year before.” BN “It is a trip that you will never tire of.” BN

Finn “tells the story of a teenaged misfit who finds himself floating on a raft down the Mississippi River with an escaping slave, Jim…[They] meet adventure, danger, and a cast of characters who are sometimes menacing and often hilarious.” LN “They come up against low-down thieves and murderers, whilst being chased by Huck’s evil, drunken father who is after Huck’s treasure.” BN

“Though some of the situations…are funny in themselves…this book’s humor is found mostly in Huck’s unique worldview and his way of expressing himself.” LN Twain uses “lively, simple American language full of dialect and colloquial expressions” LC even as Huck and Jim encounter “hypocrisy, racism, violence, and other evils of American society.” LC This is “a frequently funny book with a serious message.” LN

“Revered by all of the town’s children and dreaded by all of its mothers, Huckleberry Finn is indisputably the most appealing child-hero in American literature.” BN T.S. Eliot said, “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.” BN

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