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Paperback Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins Book

ISBN: 159308255X

ISBN13: 9781593082550

Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

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Book Overview

Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins , by Mark Twain , is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics : New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Owner and the Slave-but Which is Which?

It is a shame and an irony that really, really good writers end up with their books becoming required reading in school, a fact that, naturally, makes students avoid them like the plague, "them" referring to both the writers and their books. Happily, though, PUDD'NHEAD WILSON is pretty slim for a novel, the edition I have weighing in at only 149 pages, so it might actually attract some reader other than a poor, benighted student on whose bowed shoulders yet another inscrutable assignment has been laid. Such a reader will be greatly rewarded for having picked up this book, for it fairly bursts with Twain's ironic humor, biting social commentary, and fascinating character studies. Now, I have no idea as to why Twain chose to title this tale as he did, for "Pudd'nhead" Wilson is hardly more major a character than many of the others who populate the story, and is perhaps even less so than some. Roxy--slave, freed woman, and slave again--is more of a catalyst for much of the action than is Wilson. Tom Driscoll, not the real Thomas a Becket Driscoll, but Valet de Chambre, who grows up believing himself to be Tom, is another nominee for the role of principal protagonist. Wilson's receipt of his nickname, it is true, gives us one of Twain's first commentaries in the book on people who cannot distinguish sarcasm from literal fact, and, yes, it is Wilson's acumen that saves two innocent men from hanging and brings to light the web of deception that Roxy began spinning years before. Still, had I written such a story, I do not believe that choosing the name of that particular character as the title would have occurred to me, but perhaps that is Twain's genius. The nickname is assuredly ironic, and this story is full of ironies. Also curious is the presence of the twin Italians, Luigi and Angelo. Their part in the story is clear enough, of course, for their treatment by the townspeople is a powerful indictment of a society that can revere an idol on one day, only to cast the infidel down into the mire the next, thanks solely to rumor, innuendo and erroneous appearance. Still, this could have been accomplished with a single foreign visitor to the town, and Twain's choice to present us with twins is perplexing, particularly since Luigi consistently overshadows Angelo in the story line. Twain's own preface to the story is not to be taken as an explanation here, for he is being as witty and non-literal is the preface as he is in the story proper. Thus far, I can find no satisfactory explanation for the use of twins, although I have no doubt that Twain could give one were he so inclined (and still able to communicate in the mortal world). Conventional analysis of PUDD'NHEAD WILSON makes much of Twain's condemnation of slavery, and such examples as Chambers' inability to rejoin white society successfully after his true identity as Tom Driscoll is made known clearly show the demeaning and destructive nature of slavery. Yet, I feel that Twain goes far be

One Great Story

This was the first book that I ever had the chance to read by Mark Twain. I really enjoyed the storyline and thought that the characters are very humorous. If anybody wants a good book to read that was written by Twain, this is not one to miss.

Worthy Twain

PUDD'NHEAD WILSON is not HUCKLEBERRY FINN, but it is a worthy Twain novel, a strong example of his satiric and ethical writing. Written in 1894, ten years after he published his masterpiece, Twain revisits antebellum small-town Missouri life and this time, his anger at the institution of slavery and the racist folly are front and center in the voice of an omniscient narrator. Twain puts several 19th century conventions of pop entertainment to work in this story: murder, suspense, dramatic irony, verbal irony, babies switched at birth, cross gender dressing, and foreign intrigue, but he takes it out of the ordinary by making the trigger for the various plot lines come down to the very real human tragedy of slavery and the fear of being "sold down river." Although the suspense story may seem simple or outdated to a contemporary reader, many of Twain's themes are not. The subject of nature versus nurture is still debated today as are the politics of language and dialect. Twain's titular character is a hobbyist in what was then the nascent science of fingerprinting and his discussion compares to the contemporary debate over DNA evidence. Of course, the biggest problems the author addresses remain our biggest social challenges-- racial discrimination, the gap between the haves and have nots, and the persistence of classist social systems.Artistically, no, this is not HUCKLEBERRY FINN, but few books are. Twain's use of irony wells up from every scene, every phrase so much so that it shines brilliantly. It is a pleasure to read and it keeps you thinking long after it is over.

Puddin' Head is full of fun!

Puddin' Head Wilson, by Mark Twain, is full of fun twists and laughs. You will either extremely love or hate the characters in this novel. Puddin' Head gets a bad start in the town that he has recently moved to- to be a lawyer. Puddin' Head doesn't give up even when times are bad; you just have to admire that perserveerance! I believe that this was a wonderful book that is a timely classic.

Biting southern scandal for intense reading

What an intrigueing book, this Puddn'head Wilson. It's appauling to me that it's not Twain's most famous novel, not even well known. Twain tells a beautiful story with a complex web of characters and all the elements of suspense, a murder, an identity dilemma, a bitter election, reputations at stake, silent witnesses, and a will. It's a marvelous book, and should be on everyone's shelves.
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