On February 18, 1885 Mark Twain published his famous novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States.
This controversial story follows the journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on a raft. Jim runs away because he is about to be sold and separated from his wife and children, and Huck goes with him to help him get to Ohio and freedom. Huck narrates the story in his distinctive voice, offering colorful descriptions of the people and places they encounter along the way. The most striking part of the book is its satirical look at racism, religion and other social attitudes of the time. While Jim is strong, brave, generous and wise, many of the white characters are portrayed as violent, stupid or simply selfish, and the naive Huck ends up questioning the hypocritical, unjust nature of society in general.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was the best selling of Twain’s novels upon initial publication. On the other hand, it was criticized by the reviewers of the time crude and by many commentators in our time as racist.
The same year of its publication it was banished from the shelves of the Concord Public Library, an act that attracted a lot of publicity and discussion. It still frequents headlines, as school systems across the country either ban it from or restore it to their classrooms.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been considered one of the greatest American works of art. Ernest Hemingway noted “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”
Research this topic more in HeinOnline
HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library offers insight on how this controversial work is still influencing thought today. Take a look at the articles below:
Emotional Segregation: Huckleberry Finn in the Modern Classroom [article]
University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 36, Issue 2 (Winter 2003), pp. 305-366
Rush, Sharon E. (Cited 55 times)
36 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 305 (2002-2003)
Cited by 13 Articles | Accessed 6 Times
Story of the Law in Huckleberry Finn, The [article]
Mercer Law Review, Vol. 39, Issue 3 (Spring 1988), pp. 889-906
Phelps, Teresa Godwin (Cited 167 times)
39 Mercer L. Rev. 889 (1987-1988)
Cited by 12 Articles | Accessed 12 Times
Sivilization and Its Discontents: Nature and Law in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [article]
Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 22, Issue 4 (1998), pp. 557-590
Myers, Peter C. (Cited 2 times)
22 Legal Stud. F. 557 (1998)
Cited by 2 Articles | Accessed 15 Times
Anticanonical Lesson of Huckleberry Finn, The [article]
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 11, Issue 3 (Summer 2002), pp. 577-602
Rush, Sharon E. (Cited 55 times)
11 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 577 (2001-2002)
Cited by 2 Articles | Accessed 2 Times
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain in the middle of his career. His early years in writing began with lighter, more humorous works. As his writing evolved, subjects of vanities, hypocrisies and unpleasant acts of mankind became topics of focus.
For more on the lighter side of Mark Twain’s writing, check out Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers: Humorous Observations recently published by Hein.
This anthology of humorous sketches and quotations by America’s leading humorist, Mark Twain, covers two broad categories: law & lawyers and government & politics. Many of the less known observations and quotations are included, many of which come from Twain’s abundant letters. Carefully researched and footnoted, the book includes only Twain quotations that can be verified. Footnotes are in legal format, so that they can readily be inserted into legal pleadings.
- Humorous sketches
- Many lesser known observations and quotations of Twain
- Quotations still as relevant today as when they were first written!
Published: Buffalo; William S. Hein & Co., Inc.; 2014