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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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Because Huck tells his story himself, the stylistic richness is immeasurably deepened by the rhythms, intonations, and choice of words of this magnificent child. Frank Baldanza, Mark Twain, 1961

His fresh handling of the materials and techniques of backwoods story-tellers is the clearest example in our history of the adaptation of a folk art to serious literary uses.Henry Nash Smith, Mark Twain, 1963

Mark Twain, in short, who as a personality could not help but be a humorist, as a literary artist whose works were channeled by such currents, could not help but be an American humorist. His works are, in a sense, a summary of nineteenth-century native American humor. Walter Blair, Mark Twain and Huck Finn, 1960

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book, rare in our literature, which manages to suggest the lovely possibilities of life in America without neglecting its terrors. Leo Marx, "Mr. Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn," 1953

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of those rare books which are at once acceptable to the intelligentsia and to that celebrated American phenomenon, the average citizen; it is a book which even anti-literary children read and enjoy. Even if the language of the book should eventually be lost or, worse still, replaced by convenient abridgements, the memory of Huck Finn would still survive among us like some old and indestructible god. James M. Cox, "Remarks on the Sad Initiation of Huckleberry Finn," 1955

Clemens was sole, incomparable, the Lincoln of our literature. William Dean Howells, in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, 1959

I think he mainly misses fire. I think his life misses fire; he might have been something; but he never arrives. Walt Whitman in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, 1959

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating. But it's 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, in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, 1959

Huck Finn is alone: there is no more solitary character in fiction. The fact that he has a father only emphasizes his loneliness; and he views his father with a terrifying detachment. So we come to see Huck himself in the end as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction; not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet and other great discoveries that man has made about himself. T. S. Eliot, in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, 1959

In one sense, Huckleberry Finn seems a circular book, ending as it began with a refused adoption and a projected flight; and certainly it has the effect of refusing the reader's imagination passage into the future. But there is a break-through in the last pages, especially in the terrible sentence which begins, "But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest...." In these words, the end of childhood is clearly signaled; and we are forced to ask the question, which, duplicitously, the book refuses to answer: what will become of Huck if he persists in his refusal to return to the place where he has been before? Leslie A. Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel, 1982

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