Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of Mark Twain’s most loved, most influential, and most controversial books. It was banned from the Concord Public Library in 1885, the year of its publication, and Huckleberry Finn ranks number five in the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s. But in 1935, Ernest Hemingway wrote that “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”
Not surprisingly, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is thoroughly represented on the Web. A search for “Huckleberry Finn” will list tens of thousands of pages, making it very difficult to find the information you need. This guide is intended to provide a more focused directory of online resources related to the novel. They range from information about childhood and Mississippi River experiences that Twain drew upon in his writing to the latest controversies about teaching the book in America’s schools. Perhaps because it is an especially difficult book to teach, there are more resources online about teaching Huckleberry Finn than about any of Mark Twain’s other books.
Also included within the guide are links to resources on the historical contexts of both the pre-Civil War South in which the novel takes place and the post-Reconstruction era in which Twain was writing. Along with the comparatively solid biographical and critical information about the book available online, these historical resources will be especially useful for students, teachers, and parents seeking to understand Twain’s portrayal of slavery and interracial friendship in the pre-Civil War South.
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