Kemble, Edward Windsor. Hard Cover. New York: Charles L. Webster, 1885. First Edition. Near Fine.
Illustrated by Edward Windsor Kemble. First edition, first issue, with the following first issue points: cancel title leaf with the copyright notice dated 1884 (indicative of second state), p. 9 with "Decided", p. 13 with the illustration "Him and Another Man" listed as page 88 (BAL's first state), p. 57 with "with the was" (first state), p. 283 with a straight fly on a cancel leaf (third state), p. 155 with the final five larger than the first (third state), p. 161 lacking the signature mark, leaf 238 present as final blank, frontispiece in first state with tablecloth clearly visible and Heliotype Printing Company imprint. Publisher's decorative green cloth, with an illustration of Huck Finn to the front panel in black and gilt, lettered in black and gilt, pale peach endpapers. About near fine with a touch of rubbing to extremities, particularly around spine ends, gilt slightly dimmed to spine, a touch of thumb-soiling throughout, else tight and clean. Overall, a handsome copy, free of any repairs or restoration. BAL 3415. Housed in a custom folding box. 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."