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Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins : The Tragedy of Pudd Nhead Wilson and Those
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The two narrativespublished together in The Tragedy ofPudd’nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins areoverflowing with spectacular events. Twain shows us conjoined twins, babiesexchanged in the cradle, acts of cross-dressing and racial masquerade, duels, alynching, and a murder mystery. Pudd’nheadWilson tells the story of babies, one of mixed race and the other white, exchangedin their cradles, whileThoseExtraordinary Twins is a farcical tale of conjoined twins. Although thestories were long viewed as flawed narratives, their very incongruities offer afascinating portrait of key issues—race, disability, and immigration—facing theUnited States in the final decades of the nineteenth century.
Hsuan Hsu’sintroduction traces the history of literary critics’ response to these works,from the confusion of Twain’s contemporaries to the keen interest of currentscholars. Extensive historical appendices provide contemporary materials onrace discourse, legal contexts, and the composition and initial reception ofthe texts.