A Note on the Text and Illustrations
This CUNY Student Edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was originally prepared to provide a free-to-use, reliable text for students and instructors at the City University of New York (CUNY). A community of student-scholars continue to improve it and all CUNY Student Editions are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which allows anyone to freely share and adapt this material with few limitations.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in London, U. K., by Chatto & Windus, December 1884. British copyright law incentivized publishing works first in the U. K., so it was not uncommon for American authors to publish works in Britain and subsequently in America to secure copyright in both countries. The first American edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in New York by Webster & Co., February 1885.
Influential twentieth-century American scholars identified Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a foundational American text. Their advocacy brought renewed interest in Twain's works and to efforts to construct and privilege an authoritative text representing Twain's "intentions." John C. Gerber, Chairman and Editor of the Mark Twain Papers, echoed the sentiments of many when he argued "there is not a single major work of Mark Twain's in print that is as he wrote it" (Gerber 15). In contrast, this CUNY Student Edition is based on a version of Huckleberry Finn that reached the public in Twain's lifetime and under his direction. It is the result of the complex processes of negotiating with printers, editing, and laying type. This edition is prepared based on transcriptions of the first American edition made available from Project Gutenberg and Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Transcriptions were verified and corrected against scans of the first American edition available on Archive.org. Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have generally been preserved. Directional quotation marks; em-dashes, horizontal bars and other standard typographic elements have been preserved. The illustrations are the originals by Edward Windsor Kemble. They are reproduced from scans available on Archive.org.