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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.
“Mark Twain, in his presentation of Negroes as human beings, stands head and shoulders above the other Southern writers of his times.”—Langston Hughes