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Mississippi Writings: Tom Sawyer / Life on the Mississippi / Huckleberry…
par Mark Twain
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"The adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Life on the Mississippi", "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", "Pudd'nhead Wilson"
Collection including: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi,
Available as free audiobooks at https://librivox.org/
Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer 4*
Life on the Mississippi 3*
Any volume that contains "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" gets five stars in my book. George W. Bush could write the second volume of his memoirs and get 5 stars from me if he included "Tom Sawyer."
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Wikipédia en anglais (1)
Mark Twain is perhaps the most widely read and enjoyed of all our national writers. This Library of America collection presents his best-known works, together for the first time in one volume. Tom Sawyer "is simply a hymn," said its author, "put into prose form to give it a worldly air," a book where nostalgia is so strong that it dissolves the tensions and perplexities that assert themselves in the later works. Twain began Huckleberry Finn the same year Tom Sawyer was published, but he was unable to complete it for several more. It was during this period of uncertainty that Twain made a pilgrimage to the scenes of his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri, a trip that led eventually to Life on the Mississippi. The river in Twain's descriptions is a bewitching mixture of beauty and power, seductive calms and treacherous shoals, pleasure and terror, an image of the societies it touches and transports. Each of these works is filled with comic and melodramatic adventure, with horseplay and poetic evocations of scenery, and with characters who have become central to American mythology--not only Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but also Roxy, the mulatto slave in Puddn'head Wilson, one of the most telling portraits of a woman in American fiction. With each book there is evidence of a growing bafflement and despair, until with Puddn'head Wilson, high jinks and games, far from disguising the terrible cost of slavery, become instead its macabre evidence. Through each of four works, too, runs the Mississippi, the river that T. S. Eliot, echoing Twain, was to call the "strong brown god." For Twain, the river represented the complex and often contradictory possibilities in his own and his nation's life. The Mississippi marks the place where civilization, moving west with its comforts and proprieties, discovers and contends with the rough realities, violence, chicaneries, and promise of freedom on the frontier. It is the place, too, where the currents Mark Twain learned to navigate as a pilot--an experience recounted in Life on the Mississippi--move inexorably into the Deep South, so that the innocence of joyful play and boyhood along its shores eventually confronts the grim reality of slavery. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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Classification décimale de Melvil (CDD)813.4 — Literature English (North America) American fiction Later 19th Century 1861-1900
Classification de la Bibliothèque du Congrès
The Library of America
Une édition de ce livre a été publiée par The Library of America.
My overall rating for the LoA volume, 3½***, is rather low for an LoA. This is motivated by the preferable use of Norton Critical Editions, in which all but Life on the Mississippi are available. And note that the NCE of Puddn'head Wilson also includes its predecessor inspiration Those Extraordinary Twins.
Tom Sawyer and, most importantly, Huckleberry Finn are of course 5***** American classics. Life on the Mississippi, however, loses its charm once Twain's youthful river pilotage has ended and the book has turned into a rather mundane travelogue. Puddn'head Wilson I have mixed feelings about (on a first reading it seems really questionable racially), but it's certainly not up to the level of Twain's historical "romances" – The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee, and Joan of Arc, though it is superior to such a triviality as Tom Sawyer, Detective.
Yes, yes, I know, Puddn'head Wilson is racial satire, but somehow I feel edgy about it. The two look-alike master/slave infants are just a little too patronizing for my taste and certainly not up to the level of HF's Jim. ( )