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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. Perhaps the best-loved nineteenth-century American novel, Mark Twain's tale of boyhood adventure overflows with comedy, warmth, and slapstick energy. It brings to life and array of irresistible characters-the awesomely selfconfident Tom, his best buddy Huck Finn, indulgent Aunt Polly, and the lovely, beguiling Becky-as well as such unforgettable incidents as whitewashing a fence, swearing an oath in blood, and getting lost in a dark and labyrinthine cave. Below Tom Sawyer's sunny surface lurk hints of a darker reality, of youthful innocence and naÃ¯vetÃ© confronting the cruelty, hypocrisy, and foolishness of the adult world-a theme that would become more pronounced in
Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Despite such suggestions, Tom Sawyer remains Twain's joyful ode to the endless possibilities of childhood. Â H. Daniel Peck is John Guy Vassar Professor of English at Vassar College and is the author of Thoreau's Morning Work and A World by Itself: The Pastoral Moment in Cooper's Fiction. Â
About The Author H. Daniel Peck is John Guy Vassar Professor of English at Vassar College and is the author of Thoreau's Morning Work and A World by Itself: The Pastoral Moment in Cooper's Fiction.
Biography Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.
After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer. After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life. Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885. For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain
settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910. Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.
Reviews Grade 5 Up-British actor Mike McShane provides a superb portrayal of Mark Twain's classic characters, nailing the Mississippi drawl and cadence. For those who know and love the story or are following along with an unabridged edition, however, this production is marred somewhat by what the publisher has chosen to leave out. The more descriptive chapters are shortened or expurgated entirely, which is understandable in the interest of editing for time. Some of the more distasteful racial epithets are gone as well, although Injun Joe retains his moniker. Sid and Mary are also cut entirely, as well as references to smoking, slavery, most of Tom's ludicrously funny romantic notions about the violence inflicted by pirates and robbers, and even the naked figure in the schoolmaster's anatomy book. The result is a watered down Tom and, especially, Huck. The ending also lacks the satisfaction of the original version. The party scene where the fortune is revealed has been cut as has Twain's concluding paragraphs which "endeth this chronicle." It lacks even the closure of the customary, "You have been listening to-." The sturdy plastic case will survive many circulations. If your facility serves an elementary-age population for which the language of the original would not be appropriate, or there is a teacher looking for a sanitized version, McShane's excellent performance makes this edition worth recommending.
I have decided to read the majority of Samuel Clemens ie Mark Twain. This is a great beginning story due to the simplicity of the narrative. A part that stuck with me was Tom sitting in church while the preacher orally dictated advertisements to the congregation. In his boredom Tom observed it was a useless custom and waste of time because newspapers had modernized messages. "Often the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it."
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an excellent story about friendship and childhood. This was my first time reading the story, but I knew the general story from other sources such as a live show in Hannibal MO, plus various TV and movie recreations. All of those are great, but as is commonplace, the book was better. Mark Twain captured the spirit of the kids he wrote about very well. Made it easy to grow attached to them, and care for their well being. The story is sweet, entertaining and a bit suspenseful. An excellent read for anyone.
While I understand it is an amazing classic and I did enjoy a lot of the book it was hard for me to get into. While I like adventure and a little mystery the book did not grip me as much as I thought it would and this is why I rated it the way I did. I feel at times it repeated itself in some of the dialog as well as focused on immature nature in many of the boys as acceptable. While as a kid it is always exciting to break the rules I believe it went a little overboard at times.
Read An Excerpt From H. Daniel Peck's Introduction to Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is Mark Twain's "other" book, the one, it is said, that prepared the way for his masterpiece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and in which the hero of that work was born as a secondary figure. There is much truth in this formulation. Huck Finn is indeed Twain's masterpiece, perhaps his only great novel. In directly engaging slavery, it far surpasses the moral depth of Tom Sawyer, and its brilliant first-person narration as well as its journey structure elevate it stylistically above the somewhat fragmentary and anecdotal Tom Sawyer. Yet it is important to understand Tom Sawyer in its own terms, and not just as a run-up to Huck Finn. It was, after all, Mark Twain's best-selling novel during much of the twentieth century; and it has always had a vast international following. People who have never actually read the novel know its memorable episodes, such as the fence whitewashing scene, and its characters-Tom foremost among them-who have entered into national folklore. The appeal of Tom Sawyer is enduring, and it will be our purpose here to try to locate some of the sources of that appeal. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was Mark Twain's first novel (the first he authored by himself), but it is hardly the work of an apprentice writer. By the time this book was published in 1876, Samuel L. Clemens was already well known by his pen name Mark Twain, which he had adopted in 1863 while working as a reporter in Nevada. At the time of the novel's publication, he was in his early forties and beginning to live in an architect-designed home in Hartford, Connecticut. He had been married to his wife, Olivia, for six years, and two of his three daughters had been born. Up to this point, Twain had been known as a journalist, humorist, and social critic. His story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," first published in 1865, had made him famous, and the lecture tours he had given in the United States and England in these years had been well received. His books The Innocents Abroad (1869), which satirizes an American sightseeing tour of the Middle East that he covered for a newspaper, and Roughing It (1872), an account of the far west based on his own experiences there, were great successes. Both works were first published in subscription form, and they quickly advanced Twain's reputation as a popular writer. His publication in 1873 of The Gilded Age, a book coauthored with Charles Dudley Warner dramatizing the excesses of the post-Civil War period, confirmed his place as a leading social critic. Indeed, the America reflected in The Gilded Age-an America of greed, corruption, and materialism-may have driven Twain back imaginatively to what seemed to him a simpler time-to "those old simple days", as he refers to them in the concluding chapter of Tom Sawyer. The first significant sign of such a return in his publications was his nostalgic essay "Old Times on the Mississippi," which appeared in 1875.3 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published the following year, belongs to this return to antebellum America, and to the scene of Twain's growing up-Hannibal, Missouri. That the author was able to draw upon his deepest reserves of childhood imagination in this work certainly accounts for much of its appeal. A decade after its publication, he referred to the novel as a "hymn" to a forgotten era,4 and while this characterization oversimplifies The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, it also points to key aspects of its composition and literary character. In the novel, Twain renames Hannibal as St. Petersburg, thus suggesting, as John C. Gerber has said, St. Peter's place, or heaven.5 But heaven, as Twain depicts it, is a real place. Many of the sites and topographical features are identifiable. Cardiff Hill, so important in the novel as a setting for children's games such as Robin Hood, is Holliday's Hill of Hannibal. Jackson's Island, the scene of the boys' life as "pirates," is recognizable as Glasscock's Island. And McDougal's Cave, so central to the closing movement of the novel, has a real-life reference in McDowell's cave. Human structures, like Aunt Polly's house, as well as the schoolhouse and the church, were similarly modeled after identifiable buildings in Hannibal. The autobiographical origins of the novel are also evident in the characters. In the preface, Twain says that "Huck Finn is drawn from life" (in part from a childhood friend named Tom Blankenship), and "Tom Sawyer also, but not from an individual-he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew." Schoolmates John Briggs and Will Bowen probably were two of the three boys after whom Tom was modeled, and a good bet for the third is young Sam Clemens himself. Many of Tom's qualities resemble Twain's descriptions of his young self, and several of Tom's experiences-such as being forced by Aunt Polly to take the Painkiller and sitz baths-reflect the author's own. Aunt Polly herself has several characteristics that link her to Sam Clemens's mother, Jane Clemens. And scholars have found Hannibal counterparts for many of the other characters, including Becky Thatcher, Joe Harper, and Ben Rogers, as well as the widow Douglas and the town's minister, schoolteacher, and doctor.
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