Selections from Special Collections


Mark Twain



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366 p. incl. front., illus., port. 22 cm.

Some of the pages in this document were selected as part of a class project for Professor Garth Bond’s History of the Book seminar, Fall 2012. The abstract was prepared by Jared Marchant.

Publication Date



C. L. Webster and company


New York


First published in England in 1884, followed by publication in the United States in 1885, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has since been highly regarded among literary critics. One of the most gripping aspects of the novel is its use of vernacular from the American South, specifically the state of Mississippi, which drew much negative criticism from the outset. The novel tracks the doings of its titular protagonist as he makes his way along the Mississippi River, producing vivid descriptions of people and places in his journey and exploring social structures and issues such as racism and religion, bolstered by usage of the vernacular. This first edition of the novel is particularly interesting when examining the role of illustrations in a text, and how those illustrations do or do not interact with the words on the page. While the text is written in such a way that the reader may glean some sense of an image in their minds’ eye of Miss Watson, Jim, the band of robbers, or even Huckleberry, the use of illustrations aids the formulation of such an image for the reader. These illustrations are wrapped by the text, intimately interacting with the words on the page because they so often are renderings of specific characters or graphic situations presented in the story, and on that very same page. As such, this first edition carefully crafts how the reader is meant to imagine the characters and to understand some of the situations presented throughout the story, evidencing a delicate interplay between the text and its corresponding illustrations in early printings, lending itself nicely to a comparison to later printings and illustrations of the same book.


This work is in the public domain under United States Copyright Law. If you use any part of this work please include Lawrence University Special Collections in your citation.

Selected pages from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s comrade)....