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The Prince and the Pauper (1881)

by Mark Twain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,48361898 (3.67)158
When young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places, each learns something about the other's very different station in life.
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    Sasha_Doll: Sure, it's twice a movie, but the vintage scholastic version of The Parent Trap is a really fun read for people who enjoy it when two kids switch places.
  3. 00
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (-pilgrim-)
    -pilgrim-: Another satire of governmental forms, set in English history.
  4. 00
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» See also 158 mentions

English (57)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Has strange faux Olde English language, including the improbable "meseemeth".

Multiple versions in Project Gutenburg, e.g.

As the story has a rather straightforward arc, I liked it better as a movie, in particular the 1962 Disney version (which is technically considered a television version).
  rakerman | May 1, 2021 |
I had read this in middle school and didn't love it then. More recently, I read it to my daughter, and we enjoyed it a lot. It's not a life-changing book for me or anything, but it was funny and kind-hearted if a little moralistic. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
A case of mistaken identity is almost as surefire a way of getting laughs as putting a man in a woman's dress, so it may come as a surprise that the great humorist Mark Twain wrote “The Prince and the Pauper” not as a comic novel but as a mostly serious historical novel, even perhaps a thriller.

Tom Canty is a poor London boy, frequently beaten by both his father and his grandmother when he fails to return from a day of begging with sufficient money. Somehow he meets Edward, the son of King Henry VIII, a boy who looks a lot like him. They decide to see what they look like in each other's clothes. Just then they are interrupted, and Edward is mistaken for a pauper boy and sent away, while Tom is assumed to be the Prince of Wales.

Both boys are frustrated by their new circumstances, but despite their claims about their true identities, both are assumed to have suddenly developed a mental disability. Meanwhile the king dies and Tom is proclaimed the new king, with the power to do just about anything but go home. Even now Tom, who liked to pretend to be royalty when he was a pauper, is unhappy about his "compulsory greatness." Edward struggles to return to the palace in his rags while various forces, including Tom's father, work against him. Both boys, in their new identities, get a useful education about how the other half lives, and Twain gives us a great line about how "kings should go to school to their own laws at times, and so learn mercy."

It's a bit difficult to believe now, but Twain's own family thought this novel to be his best book, and in fact Twain himself was so taken with the idea that he interrupted writing “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” so he could write this much shorter novel. Today the story seems a bit lame, although that probably has much to do with Twain's decision to have his characters speak in Shakespearean English, now even more difficult to wade through than it was 150 years ago. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Dec 11, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
A novel in which a prince and a pauper change places. This must have been novel at the time, though the language and writing falls within the archaic domains. Nevertheless, it is a tale that will keep you reading and it poses its fair share of excitement and adventure.

3 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Mar 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (140 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Twain, Markprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzpatrick, Lucy MabryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hatherell, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ibeas, Juan ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawson, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynn, Kenneth S.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayan, EarlIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merrill, Frank T.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spier, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tine, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, FrankIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weerdt-Schellekens, H.M. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SteveNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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
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.
Last words
(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 0451418352 is for New Leaf by Catherine Anderson
ISBN 0451516281 is for the omnibus The Prince and the Pauper; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
ISBN 0140436693 is a Penguin edtion of The Prince and the Pauper.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

When young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places, each learns something about the other's very different station in life.

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Average: (3.67)
1 15
1.5 5
2 63
2.5 12
3 272
3.5 59
4 410
4.5 21
5 159

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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