Hard Cover. New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885-1886, 1885. First Edition. Very Good.
Illustrated by E. W. Kemble. First edition, first issue, with these primary first issue points: p. 9 with "Decided", p. 13 with the illustration "Him and Another Man" listed as p. 88 (BAL's first state), p. 57 with "with the was" (first state), and the second 5 dropped on p. 155. Publisher's green boards with titles and Huckleberry Finn illustration stamped in gilt and black to front board, titles in gilt to spine, frontispiece bust of Twain by Karl Gerhardt. Near fine copy with very light rubbing and soiling to exterior, some fraying to cloth at spine ends, a bit of fading to gilt on spine, and contemporary owner's inscription to front free endpaper. Overall, an excellent and sturdy copy, much nicer than usually found. BAL 3415. This copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the first American editions issued in a green cloth binding. Other bindings for this title include blue cloth, library (sheep) binding, and deluxe (half morocco) binding. While most copies of Huckleberry Finn in all binding variants have a third state title leaf, as "no copy of the published book has been seen, or reported, with the copyright notice dated 1885," this copy has the second-state title page - a cancel leaf that preceded the third-state conjugate leaf, indicating that it may be an earlier issue than the copies with the title leaf in the third state. Additionally, this cloth bound copy contains the definitive issue points on pages 13 and 57, as well as nearly all of the issue points found in cloth copies, with the exception of page 283; notably, page 283 is usually found in the third state in cloth bindings, and the uncorrected illustration with the curved fly is found almost exclusively in the sheep-bound copies and BAL notes that "no examined copy of the published book has the defaced plate" indicative of the second state. 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 worldviews, 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."