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The Prince and the Pauper (Barnes & Noble…
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The Prince and the Pauper (Barnes & Noble Classics) (original 1882; edition 2004)

by Mark Twain, Robert Tine (Introduction)

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4,86338951 (3.66)110
Member:morryb
Title:The Prince and the Pauper (Barnes & Noble Classics)
Authors:Mark Twain
Other authors:Robert Tine (Introduction)
Info:Barnes & Noble Classics (2004), Edition: Reissued in This Editon 2004, Paperback, 231 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Literature, Historical Fiction

Work details

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (1882)

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Tom Canty, youngest son of a family of beggars living with the dregs of society in Offal Court, has always had aspirations to a better life, encouraged by the local priest who has taught him to read and write. He hangs around the palace gates one day and sees the Prince (the Prince of Wales - Edward the Sixth). Tom is nearly caught and beaten by the Royal Guards, but Edward stops them and invites Tom into his palace chamber. There, the two boys get to know one another, somewhat - and each becomes fascinated by the other's lifestyle, and even more fascinated by the fact that they each bear an amazing and uncanny resemblance to each other. They decide to switch clothes (and thereby, lives) "temporarily". Edward leaves in rather a hurry, before the boys are caught at their game, first quickly putting away an article of national importance which we later learn is the Great Seal of England. Soon Prince Edward is attempting to escape from the brutality of Tom's abusive and drunken father, while Tom posing as the prince, is attempting to cope with court customs and manners. His fellow nobles and palace personnel think "the prince" is suffering an illness that has caused memory loss and fear he will go mad. They repeatedly question him about the missing "Great Seal", but he knows nothing about it. However, when Tom is asked to sit in on judgments, his common-sense observations reassure them that he is of sound mind.

Edward soon encounters Miles Hendon, a soldier and nobleman returning from war. While Miles does not believe Edward's claims to royalty, he humors him and becomes his protector. Meanwhile, news reaches them that King Henry VIII has died and Edward is now the rightful king.

As Edward experiences the brutish life of a pauper first hand, he becomes aware of the stark class inequalities in England at that time. In particular, he realizes the harsh and punitive nature of the English judicial system, witnessing women burned at the stake, pilloring, and flogging. He becomes aware that the accused are convicted on the flimsiest of evidence and branded, dismembered, boiled in oil or hung for petty offenses. He vows to reign with mercy when he regains his rightful place. When he unwisely declares before a gang of thieves that he really is the king and will put an end to unjust laws, they assume he is insane, and hold a mock coronation.

After a series of adventures, including a stint in prison, Edward manages to interrupt the coronation (with some much-needed help from Miles), just as Tom is about to celebrate it as the new King Edward the Sixth. Tom is eager to give up the throne, but the nobles refuse to believe that the beggarly child the real Edward appears to be, is the rightful king, until Edward produces the Great Seal that he had hidden before leaving the palace. Tom declares that if anyone had bothered to describe the Seal he could have produced it at once, since he had found it inside a decorative suit of armor where Edward had hidden it, and had been using it to crack nuts.

Edward and Tom finally switch back, and later, Miles is rewarded with a raised noble rank of an Earl and the unique family right to sit in the presence of the king. As for Tom, in gratitude for supporting the new King's claim to the throne, Edward names him "The King's Ward," a privileged position he holds for the rest of his life. In the end, they all live happily for quite some time. The afterword mentions that Edward died at a young age (which is an inescapable historical fact - Edward having been an actual historical personage).

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
You can't get what you want unless you see it through someone else's eyes first. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss.

The premise of The Prince and The Pauper is ages old; two people from wildly divergent ways of life switch places, with predictable consequences. This is a very simple and short story, the protagonists being Edward VI, first Prince of Wales and then King of England, and a penniless ragamuffin. The Prince thinks the carefree lifestyle of the ragamuffin sounds attractive and the pair change clothes and identities.

If you can get past the utterly absurd premise that the two boys were so exactly alike that their mothers and closest friends were unable to detect the switch, there are a few amusing scenarios, but the story soon becomes tiresome and maddeningly repetitive.

Instead of using fictional characters,Twain uses the historical Edward VI as his Prince, implying that the time spent among the lower classes of his kingdom served to make him a more caring and empathetic monarch. Of course, this holds little historical water, as Edward died at the age of fifteen and was never more than a puppet for the power hungry factions that surrounded the throne.

I’m sure there are any number of metaphors and morals to be gleaned from the story, but as simple entertainment, it falls short. ( )
  santhony | Jul 27, 2015 |
This classic story of mixed identity between the boy King Edward VI and pauper Tom Canty is a heartwarming and easy read. Mark Twain's first historical novel, it follows the tradition of of 19th century historical novels in telling as much about the assumptions of the time it was written (1881) as about the time it is set (1547), e.g. in terms of Royal mercy and concern for the poor. The language is a joy to read and this Kindle edition contains all the many illustrations. ( )
  john257hopper | Mar 5, 2015 |
(8.4)
  mrsforrest | Oct 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (142 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Twainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Twain, Markmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Twain, Markmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzpatrick, Lucy MabryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hatherell, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynn, Kenneth S.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayan, EarlIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merrill, Frank T.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spier, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, FrankIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weerdt-Schellekens, H.M. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SteveNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
The quality of mercy...is twice bless'd; / It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes; / 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes / The throned monarch better than his crown. --The Merchant of Venice
Dedication
To / those good-mannered and agreeable children / Susie and Clara Clemens / this book / is affectionately inscribed / by their father.
First words
In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
ISBN 0140436693 is a Penguin edtion of The Prince and the Pauper.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451528352, Mass Market Paperback)

100th anniversary edition

Two boys: the same age, almost the same face. The one difference: Tom Canty is a child of the London slums; Edward Tudor is heir to the throne. How insubstantial this difference is becomes clear when a chance encounter leads to an exchange of clothing and of roles...



(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:48 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When young Edward VI of England and Tom Canty, a poor boy who looks just like him, exchange places, each learns a valuable lesson about the other's very different station in life in sixteenth-century England.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 27 descriptions

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