(For nearly thirty years Mark Twain’s works were sold only through these “subscription” agents and could not be obtained in retail bookstores, a lucrative but somewhat disreputable practice for an author of his stature.) Twain recommended to his publisher that customers purchasing both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn be given a reduced price on the set.
However, since Twain had left the press that brought out Tom Sawyer in 1876—and was rebelliously publishing Huckleberry Finn under the imprint of his own company—tangled negotiations with his previous firm prevented this joint sale of the volumes.
Severance of the two books has proceeded despite evidence that Twain wrote the opening chapters of Huckleberry Finn soon after completing the manuscript for Tom Sawyer, and the fact that Huckleberry Finn announces in the sequel’s very first sentence, “You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.’” Moreover, characters and settings are shared by both novels.
Twain even attempted to ensure that sample copies of Tom Sawyer were carried by the door-to-door salesmen who “canvassed” neighborhoods and farmlands to take orders for Huckleberry Finn as it neared publication.
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The New South Edition of Mark Twain’s most celebrated novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), departs from standard reprintings in significant ways.
Owing to difficulties in resolving plot developments and to other interruptions, the sequel to Tom Sawyer was delayed for eight long years.
The hitches in Twain’s composition of Huckleberry Finn arose from a basic plot dilemma: somehow the author had to move a fleeing boy and a runaway slave farther and farther south on the Mississippi River below St.
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