JOHN When readers opened the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, they were greeted by a heliotype of a bust of Mark Twain, a stately reproduction of a piece of art paired on the facing page with an illustration of Huck Finn holding a rifle in one hand and a dead rabbit in the other. The incongruous pairing is visually interesting and suggestive of a distancing between the author and his vernacular narrator, the familiar cordon sanitaire or frame structure of Old Southwestern humor that Twain knew so well and had exploited in early tales and sketches. But the inclusion of that bust in Huckleberry Finn raises questions: Why did Mark Twain include such a disruptive addition to the first book he published with his own company? Why a reproduction of a bust, reducing a three-dimensional image to a two-dimensional one? What did Twain think he gained as an artist and for his novel by using this image? In the most extensive analysis of the bust, Louis J. Budd suggests that the subscription agents were able to advertise "A Fine Heliotype of the Author" in the sales prospectus. But Budd is not satisfied with that obvious answer,
American Literary Realism – University of Illinois Press
Published: Aug 28, 2012
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