Sunday, September 02, 2007

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

My entry on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is now up at the Literary Encyclopedia. An extract:
Mark Twain’s most famous novel, perhaps the most famous American novel ever published, begins with a series of warnings: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot” (xxv). In all the long years since its publication in 1884, Twain’s disingenuous threat has availed little: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been dissected and discussed in extraordinary detail, and praised and blamed accordingly. Thus far at least, this disarmingly – or deceptively – simple tale of an outcast young boy attempting to help a runaway slave escape to freedom seems capable of bearing the weight of criticism heaped upon it. The book, its characters, and its themes and symbols retain a mythic (albeit controversial) place in the American canon – even in the American psyche.

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