Mark Twain's classic satirical tale of race and identity. Roxana, a light-skinned slave nurse on a large Southern plantation, is desperate to give her son a better chance at life than she had ever enjoyed, and so she switches him with the master's son. Years later, when Roxana's real son has turned to gambling, murder, and theft, it is the country lawyer, Pudd'nhead Wilson, who unmasks the true identity of the two. Considered Twain's most courageous work, this short novel is one of the most sensitive treatments of slavery in American fiction.
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and died at Redding, Connecticut in 1910. In his person and in his pursuits he was a man of extraordinary contrasts. Although he left school at twelve when his father died, he was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University. His career encompassed such varied occupations as printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, journalist, travel writer, and publisher. He made fortunes from his writing but toward the end of his life he had to resort to lecture tours to pay his debts. He was hot-tempered, profane, and sentimentaland also pessimistic, cynical, and tortured by self-doubt. His nostalgia helped produce some of his best books. He lives in American letters as a great artist, the writer whom William Dean Howells called "the Lincoln of our literature."
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