In 1990, a small miracle happened. While searching through her grandfather's belongings, a woman librarian found among his possessions the first 665 handwritten pages of Twain's manuscript for Huck Finn, which for generations had been missing and presumed permanently lost. The emergence of the missing pages allowed scholars to assess the numerous changes made by both Twain and subsequent editors and publishers. This remarkable edition assembled by experts at the Mark Twain Project of the Bancroft Library at the University of California reedits the text according to Twain's handwritten notes on both parts of the manuscript. In addition to the restored text, this edition includes almost 800 pages of scholarly extras, including line-by-line notes on the alternations and revisions, expanded maps, explanatory notes, illustrations, and much more. Absolutely essential for academic libraries; public libraries also may want to consider. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5 Up-The St. Charles Players superbly present the essence of Mark Twain's 1884 classic in this Radio Theatre rendition. With an 18-person cast, they retell the story in a variety of voices, using many of the author's original words as well as adding their own narrative and conversation. This audio version allows youngsters to learn of Huckleberry's trip down the Mississippi on a raft in the company of the (allegedly) runaway slave Jim without bogging them down with hard to understand dialect or offensive words. The style is reminiscent of the Golden Years of Radio drama, with original music and sound effects accompanying the dramatic telling. The aural quality is good, with clear enunciation. Although the action follows the book commendably and includes all the events of major importance, this cannot be used as a read-along version. This is not a drawback, but rather a means of enticing younger students to become acquainted with Twain's work. It would appeal to teachers or librarians who are looking for a lively way to introduce the classics. For older students, also consider Trafalgar Square's three-hour The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Sept. 2000, p. 84).-Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In this centenary year of the first American edition of Huckleberry Finn, Neider, who has worked long and well in the thickets of Twain scholarship (this is the ninth Twain volume he has edited), offers a most fitting tribute, for which he will be thanked in some quarters, damned in others. Neider's contribution is twofold: he has restored to its rightful place the great rafting chapter, which the author had lifted from the manuscript-in-progress and dropped into Life on the Mississippi, and he has abridged some of the childish larkiness in the portions in which Huck's friend Tom Sawyer intrudes into this novel. For decades, critics have lamented the absence of the ``missing'' chapter and deplored the jarring presence of Tom in episodes that slow the narrative, but not until now has anyone had the temerity to set matters right. In paring back the ``Tom'' chapters (which he fully documents in his lengthy, spirited introduction, with literal line counts of the excised material), Neider has achieved a brisker read. Though there may be some brickbats thrown at him for this ``sacrilege,'' few should object to the belated appearance of the transplanted rafting chapter in the novel in which it clearly belongs. October 25