mark twain – huck finn


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mark twain: a rediscovered tale by M. T.

huck-finn

Life – A remarkable influence on literature came also from the southern states of north America, where Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, reproduced the different way of speaking, accent and regional dialects in the dialogues of his characters. In this way he could depicts the many sides of life and of human nature.He published from 1865 until 1910, but his literary fame was firmly rooted /radicata) in the 19th century with its problems of racism, class conflicts, and poverty because he experienced hard work on the steam boat of the Mississippi river. His pen name derives from “mark twain,” the cry for a measured river depth of two fathoms (misura marittima).His great capacity to understand human nature is also due to his interest and studies in parapsychology; he was an early member of the Society for Psychical Research. Probably this interest was born after a tragic experience: while training (faceva apprendistato) to become a pilot, Samuel convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him, but the boat he worked on exploded and Henry died in 1858 – Twain had foreseen this death in a dream a month earlier.The sense of guilt pursued (senso di colpa lo perseguitò) Twain for the rest of his life. He continued to work on the river and was a river pilot until the American Civil War broke out (scoppiò) in 1861 and traffic along the Mississippi was curtailed (fu tagliato).Twain’s works also include some of the best American humor, starting with the short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” which was published in a newspaper in 1865. Twain’s best-known works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), are apparently simple stories that show corruption at all levels of society. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer celebrated boyhood and revealed the workings of small-town America—small-minded at times, generous in spirit at other times. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered Twain’s masterpiece. In it, the boy Huck Finn learns about human nature’s evil side as well as its kind side. As a result of his close friendship with a black man who is escaping slavery, Huck also must confront the conflict between individual intuition about what is right and the prevailing views of society on the subject.Twain studied 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of the Mississippi for more than two years before he received his steamboat pilot license in 1859. This occupation gave him his pen name, Mark Twain, from “mark twain,” the cry for a measured river depth of two fathoms. While training, Samuel convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him. Henry was killed on June 21, 1858, when the steamboat he was working on, the Pennsylvania, exploded. Twain had foreseen this death in a dream a month earlier,[17] which inspired his interest in parapsychology; he was an early member of the Society for Psychical Research.[18]Most of Mark Twain’s works include some of the best American humour, starting with the short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” which was published in a newspaper in 1865. Twain’s best-known (più famosi) works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). They are apparently simple stories, but at a deeper reading they show American corruption at all levels of society. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer celebrate boyhood and reveal the habits and thoughts of people in America small-towns—small-minded (di vedute ristrette) at times, generous in spirit at other times. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered Twain’s masterpiece 8capolavoro). In it, the boy protagonist, Huck Finn, learns about human nature’s evil side (parte maligna della natura unamna) as well as its kind side (come pure il lato gentile). As a result of his close friendship with a black man who is escaping slavery (schiavitù), Huck also must confront the conflict between individual intuition about what is right and the prevailing views (punto di vista prevalente) of society on the subject.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

Huckleberry Finn is a thirteen-year old boy who runs away (scappa) from his drunken (ubriacone) father and reaches (raggiunge) an island on the Mississippi river; in this way everybody thinks he has been murdered. He meets Jim, a negro slave (schiavo) who has escaped in order to avoid being sold (per evitare di essere venduto). When the two boys learn that Jim is believed to have killed Huck, they set off (salpano) down the river on a raft (zattera). There follows a succession of adventures along the Mississippi which represents an idyllic world of freedom and eventful occasions. The southern society, instead, is satirized through Huck’s uneducated and innocent view on life. Huck follows his instincts rather than (piuttosto) the laws of society, so the novel is a reflection on the morality and manners of Twain’s contemporaries

The Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on 30th November 1835. He spent his childhood (infanzia) in Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi river. He left school before he was twelve and led an adventurous life as a steamboat pilot (pilota di navi a vapour; his pen name, Mark Twain, derives from a river cry which means “two fathoms”, that is to say “safe water” – acque salve), a Confederate volunteer, a miner (minatore) and a newspaper reporter. In 1866 he went East and started writing. His stories are humorous: they criticize provincialism and insularity through irony and exaggeration. He mostly portrays (per la maggior parte delle volte tratteggia) very simple people and reproduces their dialect and slang, exploiting (sfruttando) all the possibilities of the vernacular (vernacolo). He condemns slavery and ridicules the pretensions and hypocrisy of southern society and of politicians. At the end of the century, the death of his wife and daughters, followed by his bankruptcy (bancarotta) left him embittered (amareggiato) and lonely, and he was obliged to travel and give lectures (conferenze) in order to (per) pay off his debts. The tone of his works became more and more pessimistic revealing a Swiftian vision of the human race, hypocritical, cruel, and driven by self-interest (guidata da egoism). He died in 1910. Among his most famous novels are The Notorious (or Celebrated) Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1867); The Innocents Abroad (1869, in England 1870 as The New Pilgrim’s Progress); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and the sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884); A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889); The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894) and The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg (1900).

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