Novel by Mark Twain.
Read by Dick Hill.
Review by Esther A. Lombardi.
"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain, is one of the most important works in American literary history. From the time of its publication in 1884, controversy has surrounded the work. Fortunately, the banning and controversy has not prevented this work from being studied and enjoyed.
In this audio collection, Dick Hill recreates the voice of Huckleberry Finn. He reminds us why this work still presents such a spectacle after all these years. It's simply unforgettable.
Continuation of a Tale
We first met Huck Finn in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." As Huck explains in the first chapter, "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." Huck then brings us up to date, letting us know about the robbers and the money.
As Huck lets us know, we've come a long way from his misadventures with Tom Sawyer in that earlier book. As the publisher writes, "Twain took his most outrageous and outcast character (and perhaps the one he loved the most), Huckleberry Finn, from the book and wrote his own Adventures." And, this time, Twain creates many more obstacles for Huck to overcome, with dangers like drowning, being tar-and-feathered, and being shot ever at hand.
Twain already sets up his book to be converted to audio when he explains the various dialects: "In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary 'Pike County' dialect; and four modified varieties of this last."
Twain's wonderful sense of language allows us to hear some of the flare each dialect offers. And, without hearing some semblance of the "real thing," it's often difficult for students of this novel to understand the plot and dialogue. With its more dynamic format, this collection leads students to a better understanding of the language and context. While not replacing the book, it offers a great addition to the study of Huck Finn.
Why This Book? Why Now
Of course, I've heard it before, and I'm sure I'll hear it again. Students (and other readers, as well) can't understand what the big deal is with "Huckleberry Finn." He's a 14-year old boy, who is abused by his father until he runs away from home, setting the scene so they'll all think him dead. It doesn't sound like a terribly important story, nothing far-fetched. And, with all of the controversy surrounding the book and the objectionable language contained in this book, some people may well wonder why the book wasn't completely destroyed long ago.
There's just something about this book that has captured our imaginations for all these many decades. Perhaps, that's part of the reason the book has been considered so dangerous... Huck Finn has provided entertainment to thousands, if not millions, of children and adult s from all over the world. He's a rapscallion, but we can't help but like and remember him.
The book is also a definitive addition to the development of the novel in America literature. Like James Joyce and so many other authors in literary history, Twain helped redefine the writer's voice and his words and works have dramatically influenced writers who have come since.
Now, this audio collection offers another look at the novel, a way for us to listen to it all over again, to appreciate the the flow of language, the humor, the tragedy, and the triumph of Mark Twain's most famous work.
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