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. In this new edition, Mary R. Reichardt's introduction places the book in its historical and biographical context, and several critical articles examine such issues as the book's moral implications, religious contexts, and status as an American epic. 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.
The Ignatius Critical Editions represents a tradition-oriented alternative to popular textbook series such as the Norton Critical Editions or Oxford World Classics, and are designed to concentrate on traditional readings of the classics of world literature. Whereas many modern critical editions have succumbed to the fads of modernism and post-modernism, this series will concentrate on tradition-oriented criticism of these great works. Edited by acclaimed literary biographer, Joseph Pearce, the Ignatius Critical Editions will ensure that traditional moral readings of the works are given prominence, instead of the feminist, or deconstructionist readings that often proliferate in other series of "critical editions". As such, they represent a genuine extension of consumer-choice, enabling educators, students, and lovers of great literature to buy editions of classic literary works without having to buy into the ideologies of secular fundamentalism.