"Wieck's book . . . performs the most desirable of critical feats: it enriches anyone's reading of Twain's masterpiece."
—American Literary Scholarship
"An intriguing and expansive work of criticism."
"Wieck's inquiries into Huckleberry Finn come from some very specialized, almost offbeat entry points, like 'the figure forty.' Yet each entryway opens up intriguing speculations that are consistently helpful in their insights into intentions lying behind the story. . . . Chapters trace Jefferson's and Lincoln's ideas of equality to the novel and Frederick Douglass's significance to the philosophy behind the character of Jim; the implications of democratic influence and echoic language build a case for Wieck's reading of the book as a web of meanings bearing directly on race and rights in the US . . . Wieck's book will engage general readers and academic readers on many levels, upper-division undergraduate and above."
Clearly, Twain knew the Mississippi River and its people well. With Frederick Douglass, William Dean Howells, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Hay (Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary) among his friends, Twain also knew America. That understanding, Wieck shows us, is richly evident in Huckleberry Finn by the ways Twain explored themes of justice, rights, knowledge, and truth; engaged with the ideas of Douglass, Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson; and expressed concern over the public discourse on race and equality.
In addition, in discussions that range from number play in the novel to the symbolic potential of the Mississippi’s awesome, one-way flow, Wieck looks closely at Twain’s storytelling craft. Filled with new and challenging insights, Refiguring “Huckleberry Finn” reintroduces us to one of our greatest novels and one of our finest novelists.
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