Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Hey, Tom Sawyer!
I find myself reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with my youngest daughter. She reads in Lithuanian while I follow along in English, helping make sense of the many colloquial expressions and superstitions that abound in this marvelous book. My daughter's copy actually has facsimiles of the original illustrations. Mine is combined with Huckleberry Finn in the rather plain Everyman's Library edition.
I had forgotten so much of the story over the years, like Joe Harper tagging along with Tom and Huck when they decided to abandon St. Petersburg and become "pirates." Huck doesn't really come into his own until the second book, which to me is the better book.
Twain draws quite a bit from the relationship between Tom and Becky Thatcher. It was funny to read that Vera Nabokov was dead set against young Dmitri reading Tom Sawyer, because of Tom's infatuation with Becky. She felt this was too early to be showing such affection.
Tom Sawyer has been translated into many, many languages, and even a 1936 Soviet film. I guess that boyhood anarchist spirit appealed to Stalin.