Called "the veriest trash" by a member of the Concord, Massachusetts Library Board that banned the novel when it was first published, Huckleberry Finn has come to be viewed, as H.L. Mencken put it, as "one of the great masterpieces of the world." Ernest Hemingway wrote that "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." As Toni Morrison notes in her introduction, "some of the stillness, in the beautifully rendered eloquence of a child, is breathtaking." Equally stunning is Twain's satirical critique of the hypocrisies and pretensions of adults. A daringly ironic attack on racism American-style, Twain's story of what he once called a "sound heart" triumphing over a "deformed conscience" is poignant, powerful, and fresh. It is no wonder that this extraordinary book continues to captivate readers around the world.
A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul. The recent discovery of the first half of Twain's manuscript, long thought lost, made front-page news. And this unprecedented edition, which contains for the first time omitted episodes and other variations present in the first half of the handwritten manuscript, as well as facsimile reproductions of thirty manuscript pages, is indispensable to a full understanding of the novel. The changes, deletions, and additions made in the first half of the manuscript indicate that Mark Twain frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational book than the one he finally published.