History of the Text
Publication History: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essentially a sequel to Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, beginning where the plot of Tom Sawyer ends. Huck is a secondary character in Tom’s adventures, and Tom plays a role in Huck’s story. However, Huckleberry Finn is a far more serious novel in subject and theme, and Huck’s character is developed in greater depth than Tom’s.
- When the novel was published in the United States, critics attacked the book’s profanity, “low characters,” and depictions of criminal activity. Considered an affront to decency and unacceptable reading for children, the novel was banned in numerous libraries across the country. In Twain’s time, Huck’s personal relationship with Jim and his loyalty to the runaway slave were considered shocking, or at least highly controversial. In the context of the post-Civil War era of the late 1800s, the novel was socially progressive in Huck’s recognition and admiration of Jim as a fellow human being.
- In 1935, Ernest Hemingway said “All modern American literature comes from one book by
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