Benton, Thomas Hart. Hard Cover. Norwalk, CT: The Easton Press, 1994. Near Fine.
Edited by Bernard DeVoto. Illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton. Collector's edition. Publisher's full brown leather, with four raised bands to the spine, illustration to the front board in gilt, lettered and decorated in gilt, all edges gilt, copper moiré endpapers. Book with a slight lean to the spine, else fine. A beautiful copy. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a pseudo companion novel to Twain's highly successful 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. Huckleberry Finn is a youth who 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."