Hard Cover. London: Chatto & Windus, 1884. First Edition. Fine.
Illustrated by Edward Windsor Kemble. First edition, first state with 32 page catalogue dated October 1884, and preceding the American edition by three months. Finely bound by Bayntun in full red polished calf, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, gilt borders to covers, all edges gilt, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers. An excellent copy with two small repairs to catalogue pages 21/22 and 23/24, original publisher's cloth bound-in at rear, otherwise an extremely fresh and clean copy in a beautiful binding. 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."