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Pudd'nhead Wilson Mass Market Paperback – 29 Apr 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530745
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.3 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,174,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was an American humorist and writer, who is best known for his enduring novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has been called the Great American Novel. Raised in Hannibal, Missouri, Twain held a variety of jobs including typesetter, riverboat pilot, and miner before achieving nationwide attention for his work as a journalist with The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. He earned critical and popular praise for his wit and enjoyed a successful career as a public speaker in addition to his writing. Twain s works were remarkable for his ability to capture colloquial speech, although his adherence to the vernacular of the time has resulted in the suppression of his works by schools in modern times. Twain s birth in 1835 coincided with a visit by Halley s Comet, and Twain predicted, accurately, that he would go out with it as well, dying the day following the comet s return in 1910. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Format: Paperback
Do others ever misjudge you? Did you, as a result, ever have a nickname you didn't like? Did you appreciate that experience? How did you overcome it?
What if you had been switched in the baby nursery at the hospital for another child? How might your life have been different?
These are the kinds of thoughts that will occur to you as you read Pudd'nhead Wilson.
I was attracted to the story after reading about its genesis in the new illustrated biography of Mark Twain.
Pudd'nhead Wilson is a tragic story about the consequences of two children being switched at birth in the slave-holding society of the American South. Those who admire the eloquent portrayal of common humanity among African-Americans and whites in Huckleberry Finn will find more examples of this point to delight them in Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Pudd'nhead Wilson was a novel that gave Mark Twain a great many problems. The book started as a short story about Italian Siamese twins with a farcical character, as the drunken twin caused the Prohibitionist one to get into trouble with his woolly headed sweetheart. As Twain turned the story into a novel, the most important characters began to disappear in favor of new characters. Stymied, Twain realized that he had written two stories in one novel. He then excised the original of the two stories in favor of the tragedy, while leaving many satirical and ironic characteristics. Part of this switch no doubt related to Twain's growing pessimism as he grew older and to the personal tragedies and financial difficulties dogged his efforts and life.
Perhaps it is this deep plot difficulty that caused Twain to leave the novel with two rather large flaws, which vastly reduce its effectiveness. I'm sure you'll spot them, so I won't mention the problems further.
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Format: Paperback
Having claim to be the first forensic detective novel, Twain has produced what could be considered as a classic 19th century mystery novel; a switch at birth, a murder, suspicious foreigners and a court case. However, our hero, David "Pudd'nhead" Wilson, seeking to redeem himself in the eyes of the community, uses a pioneering form of fingerprinting to solve the mystery. Typically witty, it also talks openly of the evils of slavery.
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Do others ever misjudge you? Did you, as a result, ever have a nickname you didn't like? Did you appreciate that experience? How did you overcome it?
What if you had been switched in the baby nursery at the hospital for another child? How might your life have been different?
These are the kinds of thoughts that will occur to you as you read Pudd'nhead Wilson.
I was attracted to the story after reading about its genesis in the new illustrated biography of Mark Twain.
Pudd'nhead Wilson is a tragic story about the consequences of two children being switched shortly after birth in the slave-holding society of the American South. Those who admire the eloquent portrayal of common humanity among African-Americans and whites in Huckleberry Finn will find more examples of this point to delight them in Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Pudd'nhead Wilson was a novel that gave Mark Twain a great many problems. The book started as a short story about Italian Siamese twins with a farcical character, as the drunken twin caused the Prohibitionist one to get into trouble with his woolly headed sweetheart. As Twain turned the story into a novel, the most important characters began to disappear in favor of new characters. Stymied, Twain realized that he had written two stories in one novel. He then excised the original of the two stories in favor of the tragedy, while leaving many satirical and ironic characteristics. Part of this switch no doubt related to Twain's growing pessimism as he grew older and to the personal tragedies and financial difficulties dogged his efforts and life.
Perhaps it is this deep plot difficulty that caused Twain to leave the novel with two rather large flaws, which vastly reduce its effectiveness. I'm sure you'll spot them, so I won't mention the problems further.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This was my third Twain novel, after Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Although this is a much later work, the similarities are striking: the contrived plot (we have to believe that two babies, entirely unrelated and one with some African heritage, are so alike that even their father cannot tell them apart), the device of having a male character disguise himself as a woman, the cruel treatment by a boy of his adoptive parents, and so on.
"Pudd'nhead Wilson" is Twain's shortest novel and shows signs of having been pruned. Some characters, -- Rowena, for example -- play a significant part early on, then disappear. Wilson himself plays no part throughout most of the story. My guess is that Twain originally intended a much longer novel, with more incidents and secondary plotlines.
The fingerprint aspects of the story will seem quaint, and often downright inaccurate, to the modern reader, but at the time they must have been quite startling. The technique had not yet been officially adopted by law enforcement. Some of you may remember an episode of "Alias Smith and Jones" in which Hannibal learns about fingerprinting from this book.
A (perhaps the chief) delight of the book is the selection of aphorisms from "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar", appended to each chapter heading. It's a great excuse for Twain to peddle some marvelous quotables. Every reader will choose a favourite; mine is "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry".
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