Tom Sawyer Abroad; Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer Abroad; Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer Abroad; Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer Abroad; Tom Sawyer, Detective

Synopsis

These unjustly neglected works, among the most enjoyable of Mark Twain's novels, follow Tom, Huck, and Jim as they travel across the Atlantic in a balloon, then down the Mississippi to help solve a mysterious crime. Both with the original illustrations by Dan Beard and A.B. Frost.

"Do you reckon Tom Sawyer was satisfied after all them adventures? No, he wasn't. It only just pisoned him for more." So Huck declares at the start of these once-celebrated but now little-known sequels to his own adventures. Tom, Huck, and Jim set sail to Africa in a futuristic air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas and see some of the world's greatest wonders.

Excerpt

Published in 1894, Tom Sawyer Abroad is one of Mark Twain’s major ventures into science fiction. In it he resurrects the three characters so popular in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Jim-and sends them on a balloon trip to Africa. The balloon is less ingeniously engineered than the space ships in present-day films and science fiction, but its wings and fans can propel it a hundred miles an hour in still air and three hundred miles an hour with a stiff tail wind.

Although he had previously toyed with the idea of a balloon adventure, Mark Twain clearly got the idea for this particular story (from Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon (1869). From it he adapted such episodes as stopping at an oasis, encountering a lion, using the ladder for rescues, seeing a mirage, and hovering above a caravan while a sandstorm sweeps over it and entombs both people and camels. Yet the antics of Tom and Huck and Jim make the book unmistakably Mark Twain’s. Tom is again the manager, the one with information and imagination. Huck is still the one with a literal mind and common sense, and Jim, though the oldest, is once more the most limited in experience and the most burdened by superstition. Tom despairs of ever having an intelligent conversation with his two companions, and they in turn often feel that their arguments have gotten the better of Tom. Popular in its time, Tom Sawyer Abroad is still enjoyed for its humor and its fantasy, for the disagreements of the “erronorts,” and, of course, for Huck’s marvelously colorful language.

Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896) is Mark Twain’s best-known detective story. It is based on Steen Steenson Blicher’s novel The Minister of Veilby (1829), a fictionalized account of a famous seventeenth-century Danish murder. By transferring the locale to the Phelps (farm described in Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain is able once more to use Huck as narrator and Tom Sawyer as the central character. He is also able to insert such (favorite devices as male twins, a false deaf–Mute the, fear of ghosts, swindles perpetrated on the innocent, mistaken identity, and a dramatic backwoods trial.

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