The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Publication Date: May 16, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551116525 / 1551116529
  • 320 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  • Publication Date: May 16, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551116525 / 1551116529
  • 320 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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This classic novel of childhood is set in fictional St. Petersburg, a town based on Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. Twain’s recounting of Tom Sawyer’s many escapades is by turns nostalgic, satiric, wise, and hilarious. While this novel is often considered mainly as the precursor to Twain’s great work The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is abundantly worth considering for its own deft and loving transformation of autobiography into fiction.

In addition to the full text of the novel based on the first American edition, complete with a selection of the original illustrations by True Williams, this Broadview edition provides a wide range of appendices that place the novel in the context of 1840s rural America as well as 1870s literary America. These include materials on the composition and marketing of Tom Sawyer, selections from other “boy books” of the period, and historical documents relating to temperance, children’s literature, and schools.


“Broadview’s new edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer offers students access not only to the text of Mark Twain’s classic 1876 novel but to the 19th-century world that inspired it. Lucy Rollin’s excellent introduction traces Sam Clemens’s path from Hannibal to Hartford, where his childhood memories came to life in the form of an oddly disjointed, episodic, and irresistible tale of romance and adventure. The edition’s four appendices offer an even more detailed picture of the novel’s cultural context, including rich excerpts from rival ‘boy books’ by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Charles Dudley Warner, and William Dean Howells, as well as primary material of the sort a small-town American child might have grown up with in the 1840s. This volume is a magnificent teaching tool, which offers even experienced readers of Mark Twain a compelling reason to return to his first important work of fiction.” — Henry B. Wonham, University of Oregon



Mark Twain: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text and Illustrations

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Appendix A: Composition, Marketing, and Reviews of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  1. Composition
    1. From Twain’s “Boy’s Manuscript” (c. 1870)
    2. From “Unpublished Chapters from the Autobiography of Mark Twain,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine (August 1922)
    3. The Tom Sawyer manuscript
    4. Twain’s Correspondence with William Dean Howells (1875–76)
  2. Marketing: Advertisement of Subscription Books (1876)
  3. Contemporary Reviews
    1. William Dean Howells, Atlantic Monthly (May 1876)
    2. Anonymous, New York World (1 January 1877)
    3. Anonymous, New York Times (13 January 1877)

Appendix B: Twain’s Memories of Hannibal

  1. Letter to Will Bowen (6 February 1870)
  2. Hannibal in 1848
  3. From Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)
  4. From Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography,” North American Review (2 November 1906)
  5. From Twain, “Villagers of 1840–43” (1897)
  6. Slavery in Hannibal
    1. From Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography,” North American Review (1 March 1907)
    2. Advertisement for Slaves (1848)

Appendix C: Bad Boys and Boy Books

  1. Bad Boys
    1. From B.P. Shillaber, Mrs. Partington’s Knitting Work, and what was done by her plaguy boy Ike (1880)
    2. From Twain, “The Story of the Bad Little Boy” (1865)
  2. Boy Books
    1. From Thomas Bailey Aldrich, The Story of a Bad Boy (1869)
    2. From Charles Dudley Warner, Being a Boy (1877)
    3. From William Dean Howells, A Boy’s Town (1890)

Appendix D: A Small-Town American Childhood in the 1840s

  1. School
    1. From McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book (1846)
    2. From the Friends Infant School (1838)
  2. Sunday School
    1. From “The Sunday-School Child” (1845)
    2. From “The glass of whiskey” (1845)
  3. The Temperance Movement: Announcement in the Hannibal Gazette (17 June 1846)
  4. Games: From The Boy’s Story Book for Winter Evenings (1838)
  5. The Circus: Advertisement in the Hannibal Gazette (October 1847)
  6. The Minstrel Show
    1. Song from “Bone Squash Diavolo” (1835)
    2. Dialogue, “Mosquitoes” (1902)
  7. Reading
    1. Lawrence Lovechild, “The Deceitful Little Boy” (1840)
    2. From Samuel Griswold Goodrich (“Peter Parley”), “Bill Vacant and Henry Hawkseye,” Robert
      Merry’s Annual, for all seasons
    3. From Jacob Abbott, Rollo Learning to Read (1855)
    4. From Stephen Percy, Robin Hood and His Merry Foresters (1845)
    5. From Ned Buntline, The Black Avenger, Story of the Spanish Main, The Weekly Novelette (1859)

Select Bibliography

Lucy Rollin is Professor Emeritus of English at Clemson University. She is the author of Twentieth Century Teen Culture by the Decades (Greenwood, 1999) and the editor of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper (Oxford University Press, 1996).