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Pudd'nhead Wilson (Paperback)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Mark Twain's darkest novel--about a master and slave switched at birth--combines a courtroom drama with a provocative fable about race and identity.
Twain's plot is set in motion when a slave named Roxy exchanges her light-skinned son Chambers with her master's baby, Tom. Roxy's child, now known as Tom, grows up as a spoiled, privileged white man, who is horrified when Roxy tells him the truth. He nearly gets away with a vicious crime, but his downfall comes in the form of a clever, eccentric lawyer, nicknamed "Puddn'head" Wilson. Twain's novel was the first to use fingerprinting to solve a crime, but its significance goes much further as an investigation into the nature of identity. When the two young men are forced to change places again, the former slave finds himself exiled to a white world where he will never feel at ease, while Roxy's child discovers that his newfound value as human property outweighs his guilt as a murderer. Despite its ironic humor and the symmetrical neatness of its denouement, "Pudd'nhead Wilson "is a tragedy that refuses easy answers.
About the Author
The Mark Twain Project is a major editorial and publishing program of The Bancroft Library. Its six resident editors are at work on a comprehensive scholarly edition of all of Mark Twain's private papers and published works. Twenty-three of an estimated seventy volumes in The Works and Papers of Mark Twain are currently available.