When a murder takes place in Dawson's Landing, Missouri, the lives of twin Italian noblemen, the courageous slave Roxy, her 1/32nd "black" son who has been raised "white," and a failing lawyer with an intense interest in the science of fingerprinting become tangled. The unsolved riddle at the heart of Pudd'nhead Wilson is less the identity of the murderer than it is the question of whether nature or nurture makes the man. In his introduction, Werner Sollors illuminates the complex web of uncertainty that is the switched-and-doubled-identity world of Twain's novel. This edition follows the text of the 1899 De Luxe edition and for the first time reprints all the E. W. Kemble illustrations that accompanied it.
Since 1959 The John Harvard Library has been instrumental in publishing essential American writings in authoritative editions.