Kemble's Illustrations for Huck Finn

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  MT himself hired E. W. Kemble to illustrate the novel, and reviewed his drawings several times in the course of the book's production. Most of his comments indicate how well MT understood the role the pictures would play in the book's popular reception. After seeing the illustrations for the first twelve chapters he complained to Charles Webster that on the whole "the people in these pictures are forbidding & repulsive. . . . An artist shouldn't follow a book too literally, perhaps -- if this is the necessary result." He was much happier when he reviewed Kemble's next set, chapters 13-20: "This batch of pictures is most rattling good. They please me exceedingly." As far as we can tell, MT censored only one image, of the King kissing a girl at the camp-meeting in Chapter 20. "It is powerful good, but it musn't go in," he told Webster; "Let's not make any pictures of the campmeeting. The subject won't bear illustrating. It is a disgusting thing, & pictures are sure to tell the truth about it too plainly."
Click on any caption at left to see the illustration.
(The images "IN THE TEXT" are from the sales prospectus.)