This critical edition publishes—for the first time anywhere—the original manuscript and revised versions of Pudd’nhead Wilson.
Mark Twain's story of the antebellum South, first published in 1894, continues to prompt conversations about race and the dire legacy of American slavery. At its heart is Roxy, a mixed-race woman enslaved to a wealthy Missouri family. To save her infant son (whose father was white) from being "sold down the river," Roxy switches him in the cradle with her master's own son, setting in motion a train of ironic and bitter events. With its mixture of farce, social commentary, tragedy, and satire, Pudd'nhead Wilson has come to be one of Mark Twain's most-read and most-studied works.
But few have read the original Pudd'nhead Wilson. The text familiar since 1894, as editor Benjamin Griffin shows, was heavily edited and censored—first by the author himself under pressure from family and friends, and then by his publishers. Now the Mark Twain Project makes available the full text of the Morgan Library manuscript (the original version), together with a critical text of the revised version, stripped of the changes imposed by Mark Twain's editors and publishers—two fascinating ways to encounter this troubled and troubling novel.