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Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
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Pudd'nhead Wilson (original 1894; edition 1959)

by Mark Twain

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1,931263,538 (3.7)64
Member:shabacus
Title:Pudd'nhead Wilson
Authors:Mark Twain
Info:New York, 1959.
Collections:Your library, Shawn's
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, mystery

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Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1894)

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A wonderful story by Mark Twain about a slave who believes she will be sold down the river. She switches her son with the judge's nephew when they are babies. She takes care of them. The tragedy of the judge's death comes to a head near the end of the story which is blamed on the foreign twins. ( )
  terrygraap | Jun 4, 2015 |
The main character was nicknamed "Pudd'nhead" because of his common sense, tongue-in-cheek ironies, and innovative ideas that no one understood. Excellent specimen of Mark Twain's famous wit. I decided to read it because I had read so many fascinating quotes from it. ( )
  krista.rutherford | May 17, 2015 |
Once I got past Twain's characteristic offensive language concerning slaves and persons with darker skin, I actually loved this book. It made it easier that the narrator's position regarding skin color was not derogatory, just how he referred to them, as was common in the 1890s when the book was written. The novel had Twain's usual wit and clever dialog. It had a fascinating premise, and the courtroom scene was so much fun! The whole thing was an engaging read! I'm surprised it's not as well known as some of Mark Twain's other works. Maybe since it wasn't a "children's book" it wasn't as popular, but I think it could stand it's own against The Adventure of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.

Would I recommend this to my fellow book lovers? Yes
Would I recommend this to my teen daughter? Yes

4.5 of 5 stars ( )
  lauraodom | Apr 16, 2015 |
This book had been sitting on my shelves for many, and I mean many, years. I finally read it and what a pleasure! I was gripped by this "prince and pauper" tale. It is a gripping story with fantastic characters. It addresses social issues (slavery), character flaws, family issues, and general difficulties faced by just being human. Twain opens each chapter with a couple of so-called entries to Pudd'nhead's personal calendar which are pithy quips. My two favorites appear at the beginning of the same chapter. First, "He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it, inspiring the cabbages". Second, on April Fool's Day, "This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four". Additionally, my Signet edition has an afterword by the author in which he explains the evolution of the novella from an idea, and it is worth just reading this alone.....almost. ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 10, 2013 |
It's always difficult to review a classic, because it must be considered both for the modern reader as well as the audience for which it was written.

Twain's commentary on race relations, as always, is top notch. His understanding of human nature shines out, and the taste of what life is like in a small town at this time is matchless. Also, as a historical side note, we find the first ever use in literature of fingerprinting as trial evidence.

The story is not a mystery, but rather character study that is resolved in the way that a mystery novel is often resolved. Do not enter into the book expecting a modern mystery story, because those elements do not enter until the last few chapters.

If you're a fan of Twain, read it. If you haven't explored him before, you should start with his better known works first, and move on from there. ( )
  shabacus | Dec 10, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Twainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Budd, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Cremona, Juan Manuelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holbrook, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leavis, F. R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, WrightForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The scene of this chronicle is the town of Dawson's Landing, on the Missouri side of the Mississippi, half a day's journey, per steamboat, from St. Louis.

-Pudd'nhead Wilson
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is the novel Pudd'nhead Wilson, a single work, originally published in the U.S. in The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins.

Editions that include both Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins are a different work and should be separated.
Please keep the Norton Critical Edition books un-combined with the rest of them - it is significantly different with thorough explanatory annotations, and with additional essays and reviews by other writers. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553211587, Paperback)

At the beginning of Pudd'nhead Wilson a young slave woman, fearing for her infant's son's life, exchanges her light-skinned child with her master's.  From this rather simple premise Mark Twain fashioned one of his most entertaining, funny, yet biting novels.  On its surface, Pudd'nhead Wilson possesses all the elements of an engrossing nineteenth-century mystery:  reversed identities, a horrible crime, an eccentric detective, a suspenseful courtroom drama, and a surprising, unusual solution.  Yet it is not a mystery novel.  Seething with the undercurrents of antebellum southern culture, the book is a savage indictment in which the real criminal is society, and racial prejudice and slavery are the crimes.  Written in 1894, Pudd'nhead Wilson glistens with characteristic Twain humor, with suspense, and with pointed irony:  a gem among the author's later works.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:45 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The story of Roxy, a slave woman, who switches her baby with her master's almost indentical white infant. Thinking she guaranteed the future of her own child, now technically free, Roxy has, in fact, just tragically complicated his life and her own.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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