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Extended Audio Sample Puddnhead Wilson Audiobook, by Mark Twain Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.01 out of 53.01 out of 53.01 out of 53.01 out of 53.01 out of 5 3.01 (2,400 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Twain Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2016 ISBN: 9781449800611
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In 1894, while enduring a period of personal turbulence, Mark Twain penned this fascinating tale set in the idyllic river community of his childhood. Alternating between comedy and tragedy, irony and gravity, Pudd'nhead Wilson mirrors much of the social and moral unrest of the time. When a mulatto slave woman switches her own infant with the look-alike son of a wealthy merchant, it takes Pudd'nhead Wilson, the town eccentric, to put things right again. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberly | 2/20/2014

    " Pudd'nhead Wilson books are my favorite Mark Twain stories! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nitanews | 2/18/2014

    " A more serious novel about two boys--one who is white and the other who has just a drop of slave blood--who are switched by their caretaker when they are just babies. So, is the savegry of slavery in the blood or is it environmental? I wouldn't want to ruin it for you... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Outen | 2/17/2014

    " A bizzare mystery, and not the sort of thing you would expect from Mark Twain. It still had his expected satiric voice, but it wasn't quite as humorous as his more popular works. The plot is sort of like Prince and the Pauper, only it's set in the south, and the class division is black and white, as opposed to rich and poor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 2/16/2014

    " There really is a reason that some authors are famous. Mark Twain is an amazing writer. Reading sometimes feels like such a luxury. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 2/15/2014

    " well, i pretty much love mark twain. this book is so amazing. it basically shows people how idiotic they are for not trusting the "new" procedure of fingerprinting. i won't tell you more; read it, it's amazing! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben | 2/12/2014

    " It was fine. It was Twain. I got bored with the chicanery and moved on to other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 2/10/2014

    " Not quite a typical Twain book of humorous satire. This one is more of a social awareness of slavery and reconstruction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista Wheatley | 2/10/2014

    " Entertained me. Didn't astound. Something required for Twain heads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffany Elgan | 1/22/2014

    " I had a hard time starting this book for some reason. But once I read Corinne's review I decided to hang in with it and I'm really glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. I think I enjoyed reading about what Twain's original storyline was going to be (found at the end of the book) as much as the story it ended up being. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Avery | 1/21/2014

    " I never realized how awesome a writer Twain was until I finished this novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick McCoy | 1/21/2014

    " Back in college when I was an English Literature major I was surprised to find that Mark Twain at the end of his career was a bitter, pessimistic moralist when I read The Mysterious Stranger. But I see this version of Twain in Puddn'head Wilson (1894) as well. I was inspired to read this after reading Paul Theroux's descriptions of it in his book The Old Patagonia Express. It is an interesting novel that has comedic elements, twins separated at birth, as well as those well-suited to a murder mystery: courtroom procedural solving the murder with a stolen dagger. But there's a dark undercurrent present as well that asks about the questions of nature vs. nurture in relation to man's wickedness-which can easily be seen in the institution of slavery and Tom's heartless self-interested behavior in the novel. There is an interesting introduction from Malcolm Bradbury. It is a flawed novel, however, it is also a compelling one as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristine | 1/15/2014

    " I prefer Pudd'nhead Wilson to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The idea of the slaveowner's son and the slave's son switched as babies is rich ground. However, I think that Pudd'nhead Wilson feels incomplete, that the story had only just begun when it abruptly ended. Rather than have it end on its ironic and tragic endnote, I think Mark Twain could have written a much more intriguing story by either fleshing out the characters who are virtually ignored--for example, the true Tom Driscoll who lived his life as the slave, Chambers--or by continuing the story where it ends. I want to know what happens to these characters after their lives have been upended. And what about the other relationships? What kind of relationship does Roxy have with the false Chambers? Why is it easy for her to go off and work on the riverboats and leave the son she raised as her own? And why's it called Pudd'nhead Wilson when he's barely a character in the story until the end? I think Mark Twain took the easy way out, but there is still a lot of pith to this story--Roxana being the most well-written character, a black slave who gives up her son so he will never be sold down the river; the false Tom, a slave switched as a baby to be raised as the master's white son, overindulged and privileged, he becomes a thief and a murderer, and David Wilson's interest in fingerprinting makes for a dramatic courtroom scene. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine | 1/14/2014

    " It's more of 3.5 stars. I love Mark Twain's writing - it revealed to me why his books are part of classic literature. I had only read Huckleberry Finn and remembered the impact of reading that book in high school. I loved the premise of this story where a slave woman (who looks white but because she's 1/16th black, she's automatically a slave) decides to switch her white-looking baby with the son of her master. It follows the story of her son and one character nicknamed Puddin'head Wilson and the trajectory they take, particularly when Italian twins come into the town called Dawson's Landing. Intrigued already? It's a great read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori Henrich | 1/14/2014

    " This was an interesting story. I liked it but some was hard to read because of the wording. Once you get used to it it wasn't bad. I think this has got to be one of the earliest stories that I have read that reference fingerprints. It was a quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 1/11/2014

    " This is one of the first in Twain's so-called "pessimistic period." I still haven't decided whether I like his light zingers or his brooding gibes better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky Cantor | 1/10/2014

    " This book is all about names and naming! Going to be a key text in my dissertation! Awe...Pudd'nhead! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam Piccola-Fales | 1/6/2014

    " A bit slow...interesting to have read, but tough going. Interesting to compare Twain's take on slavery / white-black relations here (he kind of brings up the issues, but avoids addressing them) to Huck Finn. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachel Heffington | 1/6/2014

    " Very strange offering from Twain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ann Keagy | 1/3/2014

    " How can you trace CSI back to the days of Mark Twain? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Cook | 12/31/2013

    " This was such a funny, delightful story. I loved Wilson's calendar entries. I must 'get' Twain's humor, I was chuckling to myself the whole read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 12/23/2013

    " My Grandfather introduced me to this book and author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trunks Carter | 12/8/2013

    " Genius. Far better than Uncle Tom's Cabin. Biting social commentary. Funny. Funny. Funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacques Bromberg | 12/3/2013

    " I really liked this story of mistaken identity, though I don't think it's Twain's best work. His characters are (as always) very memorable and entertaining, but the plot is a little predictable (even facile). Were we supposed to sympathize with "Tom"? With Roxy? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 11/30/2013

    " It was very well written and very funny and a great example of irony! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Finney Jean Soda | 9/26/2013

    " What do I have to do to get the Coen brothers to make a film of this book? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 9/11/2013

    " Entertaining, but not my favorite Twain. I had fun writing a paper about it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Eason-barnes | 6/17/2013

    " Love this book. Far ahead of its time! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Don | 3/6/2013

    " Good mystery, and also a good reflection of racism in the 1800s. Witty and wise plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samantha | 2/27/2013

    " I'm reading this on kindle, which means I read it when I'm idling somewhere and have nothing else to do. I do love Mark Twain, though, and am thus far enjoying it very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Murphy | 2/24/2013

    " Not many authors can make me laugh out loud, but Mark Twain makes me laugh out loud. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Backman | 2/14/2013

    " A gentle, funny satire of racial stereotypes in rural antebellum Missouri. Two twins--one white, one 1/32 black (and therefore classified as "Negro"--are switched soon after birth and grow up as a member of the "other race." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeane | 12/14/2012

    " I really love the way Mark Twain can weave a story. Some people say this book was one of the worst he's written, but I really liked it. The part of Those Extraordinary Twins was a little odd, but that's okay. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carissa | 11/13/2012

    " My favorite Twain to teach. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lani | 10/10/2012

    " First time in forever that I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to se what happened next. I loved this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen | 9/3/2012

    " Flawless style, much wit, all to be expected of Twain. But the story took a twist that threw me off because it didn't seem to mesh with what had gone before. However, extremely original and entertaining, especially for being ahead of its time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Moonyeen Whitaker | 7/7/2012

    " My favorite Mark Twain book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 6/10/2012

    " Quite possibly my favorite Twain fiction. I will make a script adaptation for the Coen Brothers someday. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed any of Twain's fictions or any of the Coen Brothers films (specifically Raising Arizona). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Reed | 2/6/2012

    " I read this for 11th Grade English. My favorite book that we read that year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candice | 1/26/2012

    " Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) my be the damn nearest thing to witty perfection. Obsessed with twins. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 11/26/2011

    " I love and recommend everything by Twain, but I have only mentioned a few of my favorites on my Classics shelf. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacob hurt | 10/9/2011

    " This book was ok. I tend to think that Mark Twain is a long-winded author, and I often lose interest in his stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fred | 9/21/2011

    " This novel was my first experience with Twain and I'll admit, it took a while for me to feel comfortable. But I perservered and I'm glad I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily Bastian | 8/21/2011

    " If you like Irony...read this "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy P. | 7/2/2011

    " An often over-looked short novel by Mark Twain. A very interesting commentary on race, visual markers of race, and culture. A short read that should be a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 6/26/2011

    " Funny! I like the humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/8/2011

    " This is one of those books I just love with an unreasoning love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosanna | 4/28/2011

    " Pretty much everything from Pudd'nhead Wilson's calender is a memorable quote. I loved that about the book. Twain had a gift, there's no doubt about that. Surprisingly, he didn't keep my attention as well as expected though, so I only gave 3 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/25/2011

    " This was such a funny, delightful story. I loved Wilson's calendar entries. I must 'get' Twain's humor, I was chuckling to myself the whole read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 4/22/2011

    " A short read, I enjoyed it thoroughly. As with any Twain novel there is a great story line imbued with social commentary. However, I particularly liked the mystery and the detective work by Pudd'nhead; using some new fangled things like fingerprints. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Al | 4/20/2011

    " I liked Mark Twain when I was a child.... Boring as an adult. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 3/29/2011

    " Mark Twain, you have a way with words--I'm in love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Museborn | 3/26/2011

    " Excellent! Twain at his best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 3/22/2011

    " Even though I'm not typically a fan of American Literature from this time period, I actually thouroughly enjoyed reading this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista | 3/14/2011

    " Entertained me. Didn't astound. Something required for Twain heads. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greta | 3/10/2011

    " Mark Twain weaves the sorrow of slavery with the idiocy of racism into an entertaining tall tale about one small town on the Mississippi river in the the 19th century. Hard to imagine that this makes a good book, but it does. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taunya | 3/3/2011

    " I'm lovin' this book, have always loved Mr. Twain. "

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About the Author
Author Mark Twain

Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel L. Clemens (1835–1910), was born in Florida, Missouri, and grew up in Hannibal on the west bank of the Mississippi River. He attended school briefly and then at age thirteen became a full-time apprentice to a local printer. When his older brother Orion established the Hannibal Journal, Samuel became a compositor for that paper and then, for a time, an itinerant printer. With a commission to write comic travel letters, he traveled down the Mississippi. Smitten with the riverboat life, he signed on as an apprentice to a steamboat pilot. After 1859, he became a licensed pilot, but two years later the Civil War put an end to the steam-boat traffic.

In 1861, he and his brother traveled to the Nevada Territory where Samuel became a writer for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and there, on February 3, 1863, he signed a humorous account with the pseudonym Mark Twain. The name was a river man’s term for water “two fathoms deep” and thus just barely safe for navigation.

In 1870 Twain married and moved with his wife to Hartford, Connecticut. He became a highly successful lecturer in the United States and England, and he continued to write.

About the Narrator

Norman Dietz is a writer, voice-over artist, and audiobook narrator. He has won six Earphones Awards and was named one of the fifty “Best Voices of the Century” by AudioFile magazine. He and his late wife Sandra transformed an abandoned ice-cream parlor into a playhouse, which served “the world’s best hot fudge sundaes” before and after performances. The founder of Theatre in the Works, he lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.