Critical Insights: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Review

“Guided by an esteemed Mark Twain scholar, the 14 authors in this fine collection explore both familiar ground and new territory in their analyses of this famous novel, from traditional topics such as the language of the book and the topic of slavery to areas such as the picaresque novel, identity switching, and parenting. The unusual diversity of subjects enhances this book. One chapter presents the author’s creation (in 2011) of a version of the novel with euphemistic terms replacing Twain’s original vocabulary, so as to make the work more palatable to young readers of all backgrounds. Another chapter describes the creation of a novel about Huck’s father Pap, set within the context of examining Twain’s minor attention to that character in the original text. A 13-page chronology of Twain’s life and the “life” of Huckleberry Finn provides a useful history of the novel, while references in most chapters offer further reading options, albeit a small fraction of the literature on this classic text.

Given that this volume examines one of the iconic works in American literature, this book will be of interest to patrons of all kinds of libraries, although the price may force some libraries (and their patrons) to rely on interlibrary loan services to make it available. Both scholars and more casual readers will find this book fascinating.”