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Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1885

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

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  • Intro

    Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pen-name Mark Twain) has been called the ‘father of American literature’. His novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) is set in Missouri along the Mississippi River. Twain captures the essence of everyday midwest American English on almost every page, largely because the story is narrated by Huck Finn himself. The language is also notable because of the early representation of African-American dialects.

     

     

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    The first piece of African-American speech appears at the start of chapter two. Who dah?calls Jim, and later Say - who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn’ hear sumf’n. Several of these non-standard linguistic features are shared by all the characters, regardless of colour. It is chiefly their relative frequency in the narrative that marks Jim out as a black speaker.

     

    Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York, 1885.

    Shelfmark: 1609/6222.

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