Cover image for The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Clemente, CA : Tantor Media : Repackaged by Audio Adventures/Landmark Audiobooks, [2002]

Physical Description:
6 audio discs (6.5 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION CD Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
FICTION CD Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
FICTION CD Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Two half brothers look so similar as infants that no one can tell them apart. One, the legitimate son of a rich man, is destined for a life of comfort, while the other is condemned to be a slave as he is part black. The mother of the would be slave is also the nurse of the other; to give her son the best life possible she switches the two. Soon the boy who is given every advantage becomes spoiled and cruel. He takes sadistic pleasure in tormenting his half brother. As they grow older, the townspeople no longer notice that the boys look similar, and they readily accept that each is born to his station. A local lawyer, David Wilson has had a similar experience. On his first day in the village he made an odd remark about a dog, and the towns people gave him the condescending name of "Pudd'nhead." Although he was a young intelligent lawyer, he is unable to live down this name and toils in obscurity for over twenty years. Finally he is presented with a complex murder trial and is given the chance to prove himself to the townspeople and shake this unjust label. This complex murder mystery is a psychological study that explores how perceptions shape character. Twain combines biting satire, with his trademark scenes of farce and levity.


Mark Twain studies peoples' perceptions and their effect on human character in this complex murder mystery involving a young, outcast lawyer and a pair of half-brothers.

Author Notes

Mark Twain was born Samuel L. Clemens in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. He worked as a printer, and then became a steamboat pilot. He traveled throughout the West, writing humorous sketches for newspapers. In 1865, he wrote the short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was very well received. He then began a career as a humorous travel writer and lecturer, publishing The Innocents Abroad in 1869, Roughing It in 1872, and, Gilded Age in 1873, which was co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner. His best-known works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mississippi Writing: Life on the Mississippi, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This novel's central character is not the eponymous Pudd'nhead but Roxy, a mostly white slave in 1830s Missouri who is so desperate to rescue her baby son from slavery that she switches him with the baby of her widowed master. She then watches her natural son become a spoiled and heartless slaveowner and eventually a criminal. The climax comes in a spectacular murder trial in which lawyer Pudd'nhead exposes Roxy's terrible secret. This is not Twain's best work but is worth listening to because it is his most direct attack on slavery and ideas about "race." Moreover, in Roxy he drew his strongest female character; it is also one of the first books to use fingerprints as a plot device. Michael Prichard's narration is competent, but the material calls for a reading with greater passion.-Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.