New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885. First American edition. Bound in the publisher's green cloth, stamped in black and gilt. Contains the three first printing points: "Huck Decided" on p. 9; "Him and another Man" listed on p. 88; and "with the was" on p. 57. The other leaves were assembled at random and have no bearing on whether a copy is first or second printing, although variant states exist. A Near Fine copy with minor rubbing (slight loss) at the base of the spine and lower corners, otherwise in excellent condition without repairs or restoration. On the whole, an excellent copy of the book that Hemingway claimed was the source for all modern American literature and "the best book we've had." BAL 3415. MacDonnell, 31.
Recounting the adventures of Huckleberry Finn as he flees his own abusive father and aids Jim in his escape from slavery, Twain's novel has been praised for its "distinctly American voice," putting at its center two common people who find an uncommon friendship. "Today perhaps the novel’s greatest significance lies in its conception of childhood, as a time of risk, discovery, and adventure. Huck is no innocent: He lies, steals, smokes, swears, and skips school. He accepts no authority, not from his father or the Widow Douglas or anyone else. And it is the twin images of a perilous, harrowing odyssey of adventure and perfect freedom from all restraints that so many readers find entrancing" (Mintz). A metaphor for a young and rebellious nation, as well as its individualist inhabitants, Huckleberry Finn defies genre by being simultaneously an adventure story, a road novel, a coming of age tale, an expression of nostalgia for the expansive natural spaces lost to industrialization, and an exploration of race and class. Listed on the American Scholar 100 Best American Novels and one of the 100 Best Novels Written in English. Near Fine (Item #2602)