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When a mulatto slave woman switches her own infant with the look-alike son of a wealthy merchant, it takes Pudd'nhead Wilson, the town eccentric, to put things right again.
The two narratives published together in The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and the Comedy Those Extraordinary Twins are overflowing with spectacular events. Twain shows us conjoined twins, babies exchanged in the cradle, acts of cross-dressing and racial masquerade, duels, a lynching, and a murder mystery. Pudd’head Wilson tells the story of babies, one of mixed race and the other white, exchanged in their cradles, while Those Extraordinary Twins is a farcical tale of conjoined twins. Although the stories were long viewed as flawed narratives, their very incongruities offer a fascinating portrait of key issues—race, disability, and immigration—facing the United States in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Hsuan Hsu’s introduction traces the history of literary critics’ response to these works, from the confusion of Twain’s contemporaries to the keen interest of current scholars. Extensive historical appendices provide contemporary materials on race discourse, legal contexts, and the composition and initial reception of the texts.
"Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) was Mark Twain's last serious work of fiction, and perhaps his only real novel. Written in a more sombre vein than his other Mississippi writings, it reveals the sinister forces that, towards the end of his life, Mark Twain felt to be threatening the American dream. The central plot revolves around the tragedy of 'Roxy', a mulato slave whose attempt to save her son from his fate succeeds only in destroying him. In spite of a storyline that includes child swapping, palmistry, and a pair of Italian twins, this astringent work also raises the serious issue of racial difference."--P. [4] of cover.
Does a New Identity Also Involve a Better Life? “There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless. Observe the ass, for instance: his character is about perfect, he is the choicest spirit among all the humbler animals, yet see what ridicule has brought him to. Instead of feeling complimented when we are called an ass, we are left in doubt.” - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson Slave Roxa is at a crossroads: she is afraid for both her life and her son’s. She wants to kill herself but eventually, she decides to switch his baby boy with his master’s. She succeeds and two decades later, she returns to town to see what has become of her real son. Xist Publishing is a digital-first publisher. Xist Publishing creates books for the touchscreen generation and is dedicated to helping everyone develop a lifetime love of reading, no matter what form it takes

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