Hard Cover. New York: Charles L. Webster, 1889. Very Good.
Illustrated by Edward Windsor Kemble. Early edition. Publisher's decorative green cloth, with an illustration of Huck Finn to the front panel in black and gilt, lettered in black and gilt. A very good or better copy with some light wear to extremities and a bit of rippling to the cloth where it is stamped in black surrounding the illustration of Huck, page edges lightly toned, front hinge a bit tender but without any separation, bookplate to front pastedown, ownership signature to front free endpaper, a few spots to the text block. Overall, a lovely copy of this early edition of Twain's classic work, in the same format as the first edition. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a pseudo companion novel to Twain's highly successful The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876); although both are set in the antebellum South, Tom Sawyer is the tale of a young boy's mischievous adventures, while Huckleberry Finn involves a disenfranchised youth's moral dilemmas about social conflict. Specifically, Huckleberry Finn runs away from his alcoholic father and befriends Jim, a run-away African-American slave seeking freedom in the North. The dialog of the text features local dialects drawn from Twain's experiences living in the South. When it was first published in the United States in 1885, Huckleberry Finn was highly scrutinized and was banned by several libraries. Interestingly, the text was banned not for its saturation of racist vocabulary and prejudiced world-views, but for its depiction of criminal, lower class white Americans. Although it continued to be challenged in the 20th century for its depiction and treatment of African-Americans, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains one of the Great American Novels. Indeed, Ernest Hemingway proclaimed that it was the beginning of American literature: "There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."