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.
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: