Synopses & Reviews
This irresistible tale of the adventures of two friends growing up in frontier America is one of Mark Twain's most popular novels. The farcical, colorful, and poignant escapades of Tom and his friend Huckleberry Finn brilliantly depict the humor and pathos of growing up on the geographic and cultural rim of nineteenth-century America. Originally intended for children, the book transcends genre in its magical depiction of innocence and possibility, and is now regarded as one of Twain's masterpieces. As Frank Conroy observes in his Introduction, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
has become a sacred text within the body of American literature.
This version, which reproduces the Mark Twain Project edition, is the approved text of the Center for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.
"Is Tom Sawyer amusing? It is incomparably so. It is the story of a Western boy, born and bred on the banks of one of the big rivers, and there is exactly that wild village life which has schooled many a man to self-reliance and energy. Mr. Clemens has a remarkable memory for those peculiarities of American boy-talk which the grown man may have forgotten, but which return to him not unpleasantly when once the proper key is sounded." New York Times, 1877
"The book will no doubt be a great favourite with boys, for whom it must in good part have been intended; but next to boys we should say that it might be most prized by philosophers and poets....We can, indeed, hardly imagine a more felicitous task for a man of genius to have accomplished than to have seized the salient, picturesque, droll, and at the same time most significant features of human life, as he has himself lived it and witnessed it, in a region where it is continually modified in relation to new circumstances." London Examiner, 1876
From the famous episodes of the whitewashed fence and the ordeal in the cave to the trial of Injun Joe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is redolent of life in the Mississippi River towns in which Twain spent his own youth. A somber undercurrent flows through the high humor and unabashed nostalgia of the novel, however, for beneath the innocence of childhood lie the inequities of adult realitybase emotions and superstitions, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery. In his introduction, noted Twain scholar John Seelye considers Twain's impact on American letters and discusses the balance between humorous escapades and serious concern that is found in much of Twain's writing.
About the Author
Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) was a true American original. His other books include The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.