R. Kent Rasmussen collected and edited essays about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) in a Critical Insights volume (Salem Press/EBSCO, 2022). Sixteen contributors–Rasmussen, Peter Messent, Alan Gribben, Joe B. Fulton, Philip Bader, John Bird, Kevin MacDonnell, K. Patrick Ober, Linda Morris, Hannah J. D. Wells, Kerry Driscoll, John H. Davis and Hugh H. Davis, Cindy Lovell, Barbara Schmidt, and John R. Pascal–wrote original, engaging, and thoughtful studies of Twain’s classic from numerous viewpoints. Rasmussen chose rarely seen illustrations and new images to insert throughout the pages that delightfully break up blocks of printed text. He also added a chronology of Twain’s life and works and a detailed bibliography. Rasmussen further lists notable editions of Tom Sawyer, published plays adapted from Tom Sawyer, illustrators of American Editions of Tom Sawyer, and a filmography. The editor’s summary describes how each contributor first encountered Tom Sawyer. This would not be a Rasmussen production without an excellent index.
Alan Gribben’s “Tom Sawyer: A Classic Overshadowed by Its Successor” examines what “would Tom Sawyer‘s literary reputation be today if Mark Twain had never written Huckleberry Finn?”