DescriptionThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. It is set in the 1840s in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived as a boy. 2] In the novel Tom Sawyer has several adventures, often with his friend, Huck. One such adventure, Tom's whitewashing of a fence, has been adapted into paintings and referenced in other pieces of popular culture. Originally a commercial failure 3] the book ended up being the best selling of any of Twain's works during his lifetime.PLOT/Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid. He skips school to swim and is made to whitewash the fence the next day as punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work.Tom falls in love with Becky Thatcher, a new girl in town, and persuades her to get "engaged" by kissing him. But their romance collapses when she learns Tom has been "engaged" previously to Amy Lawrence. Becky cries for a great deal of time until the other students begin to notice, and she becomes embarrassed. Shortly after Becky shuns him, he accompanies Huckleberry Finn to the graveyard at night, where they witness a trio of body snatchers, Dr. Robinson, Muff Potter, and Injun Joe, getting into a fight in which Robinson is murdered by Injun Joe. Tom and Huckleberry Finn swear a blood oath to not tell anyone about the murder, as they feel that if they do, Injun Joe would murder them...Truman W. "True" Williams (March 22, 1839 - November 23, 1897) was an American artist known as the most prolific illustrator to Mark Twain's books and novels. He illustrated the first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and was thus the first to visually portray such characters as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn...Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910), real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel."Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. His humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French.His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, but he invested in ventures that lost most of it-notably the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter that failed because of its complexity and imprecision. He filed for bankruptcy in the wake of these financial setbacks, but he eventually overcame his financial troubles with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers. He chose to pay all his pre-bankruptcy creditors in full, even after he had no legal responsibility to do so.Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet returned. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist this country has produced," and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature."
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About the Author
Lucy Rollin is Professor Emeritus of English at Clemson University. She is the author of Twentieth Century Teen Culture by the Decades (Greenwood, 1999) and the editor of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper (Oxford University Press, 1996).
"Broadview's new edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer offers students access not only to the text of Mark Twain's classic 1876 novel but to the 19th-century world that inspired it. Lucy Rollin's excellent introduction traces Sam Clemens's path from Hannibal to Hartford, where his childhood memories came to life in the form of an oddly disjointed, episodic, and irresistible tale of romance and adventure. The edition's four appendices offer an even more detailed picture of the novel's cultural context, including rich excerpts from rival 'boy books' by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Charles Dudley Warner, and William Dean Howells, as well as primary material of the sort a small-town American child might have grown up with in the 1840s. This volume is a magnificent teaching tool, which offers even experienced readers of Mark Twain a compelling reason to return to his first important work of fiction." -- Henry B. Wonham, University of Oregon