‘All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn’ (Ernest Hemingway, The Green Hills of Africa).
A superb first American edition of this ground-breaking Mark Twain novel, simultaneously a classic of children’s and American literature. Sold by subscription, Huckleberry Finn was illustrated and finely bound in leather bindings (sheep or half morocco), in blue cloth for those who wanted it uniform with Tom Sawyer (1877), and, as here, in green cloth. There is no established priority between them, and all were available to the public on the same day in February 1885.
A number of errors were discovered and then corrected during the printing of the first edition. Copies with the earliest, uncorrected states are always sought after by collectors. In this copy, the title-page is a cancel with the copyright notice dated 1884 (C, BAL second state, with the first state only noted in the publisher’s prospectuses and advanced sheets), while the frontispiece is in the first state with the tablecloth visible and unsigned on the finished edge of the bust (A, BAL first state). Furthermore, the following issue points are respected: on p.13, the illustration captioned ‘Him and another Man’ is wrongly listed as being on p.88 (A, BAL first state); p.9 with the misprint ‘Decided’ (A, BAL first state); p.57, the eleventh line from the bottom reads ‘with the was’ instead of ‘with the saw’ (A, BAL first state); p.143, missing ‘l’ in the illustration (A, BAL first state); p.155, the final ‘5’ in the pagination is missing (A, BAL first state), and on p.161, the signature mark is absent (A, BAL first state).
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer ‘let fresh air into the minds of parents who had shut the door on their own childhood, and they will be classics the world over as long as there are boys’ (Grolier, 100 American Books).
First American edition, first state (see note); small 4to; portrait frontispiece of the author after the bust by sculptor Karl Gerhardt, illustrations by Edward W. Kemble, small ink stain on fore-edge otherwise internally fine; publisher’s green cloth blocked in gilt & black, some very minor rubbing to extremities, but overall an excellent copy.
BAL 3415; Grolier (American), 87.
Stock ID: 99598