978-0-19-510147-8 / 9780195101478

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy Those Extraordinary Twins (1894) (Oxford Mark Twain)


Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA



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About the book:

Widely acknowledged as the greatest of his later works, IThe Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, is Twain's most searingly ironic vision of race in America. Set in a town not unlike the Hannibal of Twain's youth, the book began life as a slapstick comedy about Siamese twins. But "it changed from a farce to a tragedy," Twain tells us, in the course of his writing, and the result was one of the most profound meditations on race and identity an American writer has produced. The voice that dominates this tale is that of Roxana, a light-skinned slave desperate to keep her child from being sold down the river, who switches him in the cradle with the child of her master. Roxana, Twain's most complex and fully-realized adult female character, is a compelling tragic heroine; the plot she sets in motion is daring, risky, and totally riveting. Murder and mayhem precede a courtroom scene that ranks as one of the most memorable in American literature. This conflicted, provocative, richly satirical novel confronts head-on the enigma of what makes us who we are.

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