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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN



[Extract from the beginning of the book. Read during the Intercultural Week, lecture on the USA, 10th May]

YOU don't know about me without you have read a
book by the name of The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was
made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth,
mainly. There was things which he stretched, but
mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never
seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it
was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt
Polly - Tom's Aunt Polly, she is - and Mary, and
the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book,
which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as
I said before.

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom
and me found the money that the robbers hid in the
cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars
apiece -- all gold. It was an awful sight of money
when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took
it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar
a day apiece all the year round -- more than a body
could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she
took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize
me; but it was rough living in the house all the time,
considering how dismal regular and decent the widow
was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it
no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my
sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But
Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going
to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would
go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went
back.




Link to listen to the extract above. 

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a book by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Considered as one of the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective).
The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
The work has been popular with readers since its publication and is taken as a sequel to "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer". It has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "nigger", despite that the main protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist.

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