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Published On: Wed, Feb 18th, 2015

This Day in History: Mark Twain publishes ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous, and arguably, his most controversial, novel: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Huck’s story was viewed by the writer as a sequel to the earlier chapter in the saga, but now more serious topics, particually slavery, would take center stage.

Original cover of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

Original cover of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, journey 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.

Twain narrates through Huck, using the controversial “colorful” language of the day, which has been deemed offensive by many and has led to movements banning the book.

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.

Even in 1885, two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn landed with a splash.

A month after its publication, a Concord, Massachusetts, library banned the book, calling its subject matter “tawdry” and its narrative voice “coarse” and “ignorant.” Other libraries followed suit, beginning a controversy that continued long after Twain’s death in 1910.

In the1950s, the book came under fire from African-American groups for being racist in its portrayal of black characters, despite the fact that it was seen by many as a strong criticism of racism and slavery.

Despite the outrage, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been hailed by many serious literary critics as a masterpiece.

Ernest Hemingway famously declared that the book marked the beginning of American literature: “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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