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Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; 1st Wordsworth Edition edition (5 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260117
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910). He was born and brought up in the American state of Missouri and, because of his father's death, he left school to earn his living when he was only twelve. He was a great adventurer and travelled round America as a printer; prospected for gold and set off for South America to earn his fortune. He returned to become a steam-boat pilot on the Mississippi River, close to where he had grown up. The Civil War put an end to steam-boating and Clemens briefly joined the Confederate army - although the rest of his family were Unionists! He had already tried his hand at newspaper reporting and now became a successful journalist. He started to use the alias Mark Twain during the Civil War and it was under this pen name that he became a famous travel writer. He took the name from his steam-boat days - it was the river pilots' cry to let their men know that the water was two fathoms deep.

Mark Twain was always nostalgic about his childhood and in 1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, based on his own experiences. The book was soon recognised as a work of genius and eight years later the sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published. The great writer Ernest Hemingway claimed that 'All modern literature stems from this one book.'

Mark Twain was soon famous all over the world. He made a fortune from writing and lost it on a typesetter he invented. He then made another fortune and lost it on a bad investment. He was an impulsive, hot-tempered man but was also quite sentimental and superstitious. He was born when Halley's Comet was passing the Earth and always believed he would die when it returned - this is exactly what happened.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By N. Butt on 13 Jan. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is interesting that my reading of Mark Twain's classic stories has coincided with a literary argument about a newly published version that has censored some of the terms that are not politically correct in the modern world (I should emphasise that this is the original version with the naughty words). I am sure opinion is divided about such a move, but I cannot help but feel that such words, incorrect as they are now considered, should not be removed from masterpieces that were written so long ago. Many students have grown up on a diet of compulsory books that were poured over at school, of which Mark Twain's often featured, and surely the debate over slavery and racist terminology is one that everybody should be exposed to.

Of course, this aspect is a minor part of a collection of stories that paint an endearing picture of mid 19th century smalltown USA. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are a mischievous pair, always thinking up new games and having the kind of childhood that many an adult would wish to have copied. The book gives a real insight into how their community functioned, the spirit that bound it together and the rules upon which it was built. The language used is, by Twain's own admission, his take on the many dialects from the Mississippi basin, and whilst it does not always flow as smoothly as modern English, it is easy to understand. It is not for me to pass judgement on the quality of the books, there are many people who are far more qualified than me to do that, but the stories are simple, beautifully written and draw the reader into a world that we have left behind.

I never read this at school, but wish that I had.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By LittleMoon VINE VOICE on 8 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Tom Sawyer (TS) of course is the idealised half of the story, recounting glorious days, and childhood escapades : oozing innocence and nostalgia from every sentence. There is an undeniable charm and sweetness to this perfect world, where good always triumphs, and where each chapter is as benign as the stuff you might find in Tom's pocket: "a piece of blue bottle glass to look through... a fragment of chalk... four pieces of orange peel..."

From witnessing murder, to being stuck in caves, the reader never suspects a bad ending for anyone but the baddies themselves. Tom is always utterly safe. I suspect that's why we readers love TS, because it takes us to the idyllic childhood we all wish we'd had, but that can never truly have existed... envisioned as it is in a vacuum, free from danger, free from conscience.

Writing Huckleberry Finn (HF) a few years later, the author was unwilling to repeat this feat. Although there is humour and boyish-shenanigans aplenty, Twain was no longer able to ignore the racism in America at that time, nor indeed "whitewash" slavery from this work as he had TS. Twain uses his "sequel" to focus on the escaped slave Jim, and his search for freedom, recalled through the eyes, and more importantly, the rhythmic vernacular of Huck.

Many scholars now read HF as a satire of American attitudes at the time; the farcical treatment of Jim towards the end of the novel is seen as a parallel to the continued gross injustices suffered by the black population after the abolition of slavery. It is Jim's kindness and compassion that shines through, whilst Huck struggles throughout with his own (and society's) views towards slavery in the light of the reality of Jim.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By MVF on 6 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought his book for my husband who mentioned he had read Huckleberry Finn as a boy and had loved it. As this had the prequel "Tom Sawyer" included I thought he would like to read it again. I was right. He was delighted and has spent each evening chuckling away saying to me how funny it is. One note of warning, Mark Twain wrote this book a long long time ago and uses politically inappropriate language for the black people in the story but, if you can overlook this, it is a great book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Watkins on 11 Mar. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent story but half way through Huckleberry Finn sections of text are missing. Had to buy a diffrent version from Amazon to continue reading.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wayne's World of Blogging on 5 July 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
It's my birthday on the 4th of July and lucky me I got an early present. My wife has bought me a Kindle. So I have been downloading all the books I want to read in the next few months. I did a blog on the TV series Huckleberry Finn and his Friends and have always planned to read the Mark Twain novel. Well I have now read it and am very aware of the debate that is ongoing on the necessity to remove all traces of the word "nigger" from the books. I make this clear now. I am not a racist. But I am also not one to beat around the bush and hide words with obvious meanings. Mark Twain used this word many times in this book and I'm not going to disguise it by using the "n" word etc.

Over a hundred years ago we all know of the treatment the black people received at the hands of the white man. It is a history that should leave an uncomfortable feeling for every generation of people. Great spokesman like Martin Luther King summed it up in his speech "All men are free and equal". It is such a shame that it took years for us to realise this and it is amazing that white on black racism is happening today. The question I ask though is ... Is it right to forget this ever happened and sweep it under the carpet.?

With the new edition of Huckleberry Finn censoring the word "Nigger" to "Slave" they are effectively teaching our new generations that the persecution never happened. What is more ironic about this debate is that the book itself is Anti-racist. It tells the story of a slave trying to gain his freedom with the help of his friend Huckleberry Finn.

As stated earlier, when people hear this word they should be ashamed, they should be uneasy. We should all nod our heads and acknowledge the atrocities that us as a human species dictated to a race of people.
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