Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), written in a more sombre vein than his other Mississippi writings, was Mark Twain's last serious work of fiction. It reveals the sinister forces that, towards the end of his life, Twain thought to be threatening the American dream. The central plot revolves around the tragedy of "Roxy," a mulatto slave whose attempt to save her son from his fate succeeds only in destroying him. An astringent work which raises the serious issue of racial difference, Pudd'nhead Wilson is considered by the critic F.R. Leavis to be "a classic of the use of popular modes--the sensational and the melodramatic." The volume also includes two other late works by Twain, Those Extraordinary Twins and The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg.
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer. R. D. Gooder is at Clare College, Cambridge.
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