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For the Ignatius Study Guide for Huckleberry Finn, click here.
Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is, according to many critics and fond readers, the great American novel. Full of vibrant American characters, intriguing regional dialects and folkways, and down-home good humor, it also hits Americans in one of their greatest and on-going sore spots: the fraught issue of racism.
As Huck and Jim float down the Mississippi and encounter all manner of people and situations, and as Huck struggles mightily with his conscience concerning Jim, the novel strongly invites a moral and religious perspective. Mary R. Reichardt, the editor of this edition, is a professor of literature in the Catholic Studies department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul MN.
A look at the essays
"Camp meetings", or revivals, show up in Huck's adventures and in Twain's library. Fr Anthony J. Berret, SJ, shows how this religious practice lends form to the narrative.
William F. Byrne shows how Huck Finn is not just un-Romantic, but anti-Romantic in "Huckleberry Finn as a Response to Romanticism", while John F. Devanney. Jr. navigates the troubled waters of morality in the tale: why Twain was afraid people would impose a moral on his work, and how critics have done so despite him.
In "Huck's Sound Heart", Thomas W. Stanford III investigates the conflicts of conscience that pervade the work. Aaron Urbanczyk offers "Huckleberry Finn as American Epic", the story of a young and unsettled boy in a young and unsettled country.
Mary Reichardt situates the reader with the introductory essay$19.90