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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul. The recent discovery of the first half of Twain's manuscript, long thought lost, made front-page news. And this unprecedented edition, which contains for the first time omitted episodes and other variations present in the first half of the handwritten manuscript, as well as facsimile reproductions of thirty manuscript pages, is indispensable to a full understanding of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The changes, deletions, and additions that Mark Twain made in the first half of the original manuscript (changes that are larger and more numerous and significant than those he made in the second half) indicate that he frequently checked his impulse to write an even darker, more confrontational work than the book he finally published. He deleted an episode in which whites at a religious camp meeting try to avoid the embraces of a black slave woman - a woman who may think, mistakenly, that she has just been freed. And even in its smallest variations - such as the consistent alteration of vicious rawhide whippings to ordinary cowhide whippings - the original manuscript demonstrates the skill, the restraint, and the constraints that affected Mark Twain's creative process.
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.