The text of this new scholarly edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the first ever to be based on Mark Twain's complete, original manuscript—including its first 665 pages, which had been lost for over a hundred years when they turned up in 1990 in a Los Angeles attic. The text has been thoroughly re-edited using this manuscript, restoring thousands of details of wording, spelling, and punctuation which had been corrupted by Mark Twain's typist, typesetters, and proofreaders. It includes all of the 174 first edition illustrations by Edward Windsor Kemble, which the author called "most rattling good."
The editorial matter is extraordinarily rich. A new introduction tells the story of how Mark Twain's book was written, edited, published, and received, and spells out in detail the effect of the newly discovered manuscript on the text. Included are revised and updated maps of the Mississippi River valley, explanatory notes, glossary, and several documentary appendixes such as Twain's literary working notes, facsimile manuscript pages, facsimile reproductions of the author's revisions for his public reading tours, and contemporary advertisements and announcements. Also included are a description of the manuscript and all texts used in preparing this edition and complete lists of the author's revisions. The acclaimed 2001 Mark Twain Library edition (Library edition books are intended for general readers) was drawn from this comprehensive new scholarly edition in the Works of Mark Twain series.
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.