Featuring the brilliantly drawn Roxanna, a mulatto slave who suffers dire consequences after switching her infant son with her master's baby, and the clever Pudd'nhead Wilson, an ostracized small-town lawyer, Twain's darkly comic masterpiece is a provocative exploration of slavery and miscegenation. Leslie A. Fiedler described the novel as "half melodramatic detective story, half bleak tragedy," noting that "morally, it is one of the most honest books in our literature." "Those Extraordinary Twins," the slapstick story that evolved into Pudd'nhead Wilson, provides a fascinating view of the author's process. The text for this Modern Library Paperback Classic was set from the 1894 first American edition.
About the Author
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was an American humorist and writer, who is best known for his enduring novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has been called "the Great American Novel." Raised in Hannibal, Missouri, Twain held a variety of jobs including typesetter, riverboat pilot, and miner before achieving nationwide attention for his work as a journalist with "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." He earned critical and popular praise for his wit and enjoyed a successful career as a public speaker in addition to his writing. Twain's works were remarkable for his ability to capture colloquial speech, although his adherence to the vernacular of the time has resulted in the suppression of his works by schools in modern times. Twain's birth in 1835 coincided with a visit by Halley's Comet, and Twain predicted, accurately, that he would "go out with it" as well, dying the day following the comet's return in 1910.
Ron Powers, a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Emmy Award-winning writer and critic, has studied and written about Mark Twain for many years. He is the author of ten books, including "Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain, " and the coauthor of two, including the #1 "New York Times" bestseller "Flags of Our Fathers." He lives in Middlebury, Vermont.
“Mark Twain, in his presentation of Negroes as human beings, stands head and shoulders above the other Southern writers of his times.”—Langston Hughes