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Huckleberry Finn

TWAIN, MARK. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade).

New York: Webster, 1885

Original green cloth. First state of frontispiece. Illustrations by E. W. Kemble. Slight wear to spine ends. Early owner provenance statement and clipped signature mounted to front endpapers. An excellent, tight, and bright copy with the inner hinges strong. A handsome copy.

“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn . . . it is the best book we’ve had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” – Ernest Hemingway

A lovely copy of Huckleberry Finn. This is the first American edition, with the key first issue text points. A variety of errors were discovered and corrected during the course of printing the first edition, and collectors have always preferred the earliest, uncorrected states. These points are the page reference 88 on p. 13 (later corrected to 87), the p. 57 misprint “with the saw” (“with the saw”), and the misprint “Decided” on p. 9 (“Decides”). The title-page and p. 283 are cancels, as desired in cloth copies. The other known points “are of no significance in determining the sequence of the printing of the sheets” (MacDonnell). Full details are available on request.

Sold by subscription, Huckleberry Finn was lavishly bound and illustrated to appeal to casual buyers approached by sample-wielding salesmen. As a result, the first edition is the most attractive and eye- catching of all American literary classics.

In 1905 the Brooklyn Public Library banned Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, prompting the author to write to the librarian:

“I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote ‘Tom Sawyer’ & ‘Huck Finn’ for adults exclusively, and it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave.”

“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn… it is the best book we’ve had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since” (Ernest Hemingway.)

Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer “let fresh air into the minds of parents who had shut the door on their own childhood, and they will be classics the world over as long as there are boys” (Grolier 100 American Books).

Provenance: mounted on the front endpaper is the signature of Henry E. Worcester and a manuscript note stating, “To James T. von Rosenzwinge, This copy of Huckleberry Finn was given to Henry Elwynne Worcester your great-great grandfather by his son Horatio, your great grandfather for Christmas, 1885.”

BAL 3415. Grolier 100 American Books 87.

$15,000