Prince and the Pauper (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Prince and the Pauper (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

When Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper was published in 1881, the Atlanta Constitution sang its praises in no uncertain terms: “The book comes upon the reading public in the shape of a revelation.” A timeless tale of switched identities, Twain’s story revolves around the miserably poor Tom Canty “of Offal Court,” who is lucky enough to trade his rags for the gilded robes of England’s prince, Edward Tudor. As each boy is mistaken for the other, Tom enters a realm of privilege and pleasure beyond his most delirious dreams, while Edward plunges into a cruel, dangerous world of beggars and thieves, cutthroats and killers. Befriended by the heroic Miles Hendon, Edward struggles to survive on the squalid streets of London, in the process learning about the underside of life in “Merry England.”

With its mixing of high adventure, raucous comedy, and scathing social criticism, presented in a hilarious faux-sixteenth-century vernacular that only Mark Twain could fashion, The Prince and the Pauper remains one of this incomparable humorist’s most popular and oft-dramatized tales.

Robert Tine is the author of six novels, including State of Grace and Black Market. He has written for a variety of periodicals and magazines, from the New York Times to Newsweek.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082185
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 12/01/2004
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 21,551
Product dimensions: 7.94(w) x 5.24(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist noted for the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which has been called "The Great American Novel") and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among many other books. Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and he spent time as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before finding fame as a writer.

Date of Birth:

November 30, 1835

Date of Death:

April 21, 1910

Place of Birth:

Florida, Missouri

Place of Death:

Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

From Robert Tine’s Introduction to The Prince and the Pauper

The story itself—the swapping of identities between Edward Tudor, heir to the throne of England, and one of his lowliest subjects, a certain Tom Canty of Offal Court, London—was a neat conceit and one that no one would have doubted Twain would have immense fun spinning out. However, while there are moments in the book of what the critics called Twain’s “burlesque,” this apparently simple story delves deeply into the baseness of the human condition—and examines it closely at both ends of the social spectrum. It is not difficult to imagine wanton cruelty and pain meted out in the slums and low dens of Tudor London. But Twain did not spare the aristocracy; he accused them of cupidity, treachery, and outright violence. Brutality is no less brutal for having been dealt by a finely attired lord of the realm rather than by a drink-soaked mendicant clad in rags, worried that he will not come up with the two pennies required to pay his rent. One has to admit that to Twain’s contemporaries, and to readers today, The Prince and the Pauper is not a funny book.

But it is an exciting one, almost a thriller. Will the deception succeed? Will Tom Canty take the throne? And will Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales (as Twain erroneously styles him), live his life in rags and squalor, raving and raging until his dying day about his own blue blood and the common, ungrateful usurper of the throne? It’s a close thing, and there are times when the reader doubts that Twain will manage to pull off a suitably happy ending.

Then there is the problem with the language Twain employs. The book is filled with archaic and, in the mouths of the noble characters, flowery language. The more base characters speak a guttural if elaborate patois: “‘Gone stark mad as any Tom o’ Bedlam! . . . But mad or no mad, I and thy Gammer Canty will soon find where the soft places in thy bones lie, or I’m no true man!’” (p. 24). The aristocrats are no less orotund, even when condemning one of their own to death: “‘Alack, how I have longed for this sweet hour! and lo, too late it commeth, and I am robbed of this so coveted chance. But speed ye, speed ye! let others do this happy office [that is, a beheading] sith ’tis denied to me’” (p. 52). This is not the Mark Twain the reading public was used to—we are a long way from Tom, Huck, and Pudd’nhead. But Twain had always been a meticulous and discerning student of the spoken word, and absent a living example of Tudor speech, he readily admitted reading a great deal of Shakespeare to get the language down for both prince and pauper.

At first, the language seems a trifle daunting, but it quickly becomes easy to read and in the end adds immeasurably to the authenticity of the book. To have had his characters speak in the manner of Victorian Londoners of his age would have undercut the profound sense of time and place Twain manages to convey so well.

Having said how much The Prince and the Pauper is not a typical example of Twain’s work, it is worth taking a look at the factors that make it, in fact, a comfortable fit with the rest of the Twain canon. Like Tom Canty, the pauper of the story, Twain knew well the privations of youthful poverty. His father, John Marshall Clemens

(1798–1847), was an inept businessman, perennially in debt, sometimes bringing his family to such low financial water as to force the selling of family land, and even the household furniture. At one point in Twain’s youth the family was forced to face the humiliation of having to take in boarders. True, Twain never knew the crushing poverty of the Canty clan, but he grew up knowing the cold sting of want.

Tom Canty’s father is an ogre, a tyrant, a drunkard, and an abuser. Were he alive today his treatment of his family would, more than likely, land him in jail. Twain’s own father, while no monster, was cold, distant, unaffectionate, and, it seems, uninterested in any of his seven children, still less in his wife (Jane Lampton Clemens, 1803–1890), with whom he lived in a loveless marriage. As Twain admits so candidly in a fragment of an autobiography published in 1907: “I had never once seen a member of the Clemens family kiss another one—except once. When my father lay dying in our house in Hannibal he put his arm around my sister’s neck and drew her down and kissed her, saying, ‘Let me die.’” (Paine, A. B. Mark Twain: A Biography, Vol. I, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1912, p. 73.) It is not difficult to imagine that Twain could take his own experiences of poverty and cruelty and amplify them into the truly ghastly conditions of Tom Canty’s early life.

As Twain’s reputation grew he was transformed from lowly newspaper reporter into celebrated author. This celebrity allowed him to hobnob with the Great and Good (including the Russian czar, the German kaiser, and the emperor of Austria-Hungary) and to develop a keen eye for the doings of the upper classes. The courts of the nineteenth century were at least as grand, perhaps even more so, than those of Tudor England. Mark Twain was a proud American and a republican, and he scoffed at the very notion of aristocracy, as well as at a type of American traveler of a certain class who fawned over the titled and highborn. However, he did admit: “We are all like—on the inside . . . we dearly like to be noticed by a duke. . . . When a returned American is playing the earls he has met I can look on silent and unexcited and never offer to call his hand, although I have three kings and a pair of emperors up my sleeve.” (Camfield, p.376.) These crowned heads do more than just pump up an awestruck American Grand Tourist: Twain’s travels in the courts, palaces, and lavish country houses of Europe must have provided grist for his mill and found their way into the pages of The Prince and the Pauper.

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The Prince and the Pauper 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 204 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to write a 7th grade book report on it and it was simple. Even with the writing it was very easy to understand. And if you already did reasch for another project on crimes and punishments back then, then you know what to expect. Great book for book reports.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Turn back time; sixteenth century England is where you will be. One will fine oneself in THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER by Mark Twain. England is in chaos; terrors, poverty, plague and filth is everywhere. People are begging to stay alive. Tom Canty ¿the pauper¿ is the main character in the book. Tom is a regular person. He has grown up in the filth of Elizabethan England. Another main character in the book is Edward Tudor ¿the prince.¿ Edward grows up in the gentry of society. Tom¿s dream comes true when Tom switches places with Edward Tudor. One day Tom is by the grounds where Edward is. Edward wants to play with him. By mistake Tom dresses up as the Prince and Edward dresses up as the Pauper and then the Pauper [Edward] is kicked out of the grounds. The Prince observes what the people of England are going through. While the Prince observes he becomes a pheasant: the back bone of society. The Pauper goes through the opposite; he becomes a gentry. There are two reoccurring themes in the book, appearance verses reality and image verses identity. Vibrantly expressed is appearance verses reality. ¿The soldiers presented arms with their halberds, opened the gates, and presented again as the little Prince of Poverty passed in, in his fluttering rags, to join hands with the Prince of Limitless Plenty¿ (19.) The reader will see that language device used frequently in the book. Image verses identity can be seen within the quote. The description of Tom and Edward show image of their identity. The sole of the reader will know Tom will always be the beggar and Edward the elite class. Image verses identity is another reoccurring theme in the book. Edward¿s image is of high royal status. Edward¿s identity changes as the reader observes what he goes through. This theme makes the book better then if nothing changed in the mood of the society. The reader might think of the hero¿s journey. Tom¿s transformation is the one and only dream. It is achieved which is the main reason to read the book. The reader will vision the lowest class of Elizabethan society reach its upper limit. The vision of escape and exile is what Edward witnesses with the reader. His story isn¿t the best. Edward is thrown back into the throbbing jungle of Elizabethan society. This book has a very bizarre language which one might not enjoy. Imagine the beginning of modern English that is used in Shakespeare and then mix it with our flamboyant English of the present. That might be scary territory for people anyway but it is not my main recommendation. My number one recommendation is because of the two reoccurring themes in the book appearance verses reality and image verses identity. The reader has a phantasmagoric experience between the two characters. The reader will be able to vividly see the prince and the pauper in their two new and different words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love mark twain and i was reading this book in class and i needed to read it but i hate reading from pages so this was the same version i was reading in class and i recomend it to all kids and adults
Anaissa Diaz More than 1 year ago
My teacher told me to read this book and I loved it! If you like classics you'll love this book. Great read!
TheQuillPen More than 1 year ago
"The Prince and the Pauper"'s strengths reside mostly in its author's wonderful writing and its creative and humurous "comedy of errors" style involving wild mix-ups and misunderstandings. Mark Twain is an amazingly skillful author and he presents his topic in a wonderful way. However, the story cannot compare to Twain's other work and is not as memorable or spirited. Some of the plot turns feel slightly unnecessary and the titular pauper is underdeveloped as compared to the prince when he could have had a lot of potential. I think the setting was somewhat stifling as well, seeing as Mark Twain has a definite American flavor to his writing style, and his dialogue shines when filled with 19th-century dialects. Although I would absolutely reccomend "The Prince and the Pauper," it would not be at the top of my list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey mark twain wrote this book in the old days. So you should know that there should be some errors
Nazire More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain is hailed as one of the greatest writers of his time and not for no reason. While The Prince and the Pauper is not my favorite book by Twain it is definitely a great book to read. It has a lot of interesting characters and a glance from the future to the past attitude that makes this story a great read even to modern day readers. It's a coming of age story with plot twists and some new techniques tried out by Twain. There are growing aches in which any one could relate to both of the protagonists and can easily see the both sides of the mirror. While, it won't be easy to figure out Twain's syntax and diction, therefore eliminating many younger readers who would other wise immensely enjoy this book, it is a book that can be enjoyed by children and their parents, or their adults and some young adults as well who are willing to put the time into this book.
14hermannsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book because it was very hard to understand (at least the version i read). I think that Mark Twain over did the old english a little bit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! My momm recommended the book Prince and the Pauper:)! Anyways, what's up with all the warrior cats stuff? This is suppose to be reveiws for this book!
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
The Prince and the Pauper is a children's classic written by American author, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). This is a fun bit of literature to read. Children will especially enjoy the story since it centers upon two boys as they share the adventure of a lifetime. Tom Canty, a poor boy with an abusive father and only crumbs to eat for supper; Prince Edward, monarch of the Tudor dynasty and heir to King Henry VIII. What circumstances could possibly lead these two to even meet, with completely opposite lives and social ranks creating a broad distance between them? Furthermore, that a prince and a pauper would then engage in conversation, or make the (almost!) fatal decision of switching lives? This is historical fiction at its finest. Clemens took on a "what if?" plot to try his hand at alternative history. Let us ask ourselves... "What could have happened in 1547, if Prince Edward left the throne empty for a look-alike peasant boy to rule his kingdom? Nothing could go horribly wrong. Right?" I found Clemens to be quite witty in his writing style. He makes many uses of alliteration and similes, so that the story becomes whimsical in its telling, sometimes poetic-sounding -- and just about always a bit comical. For some readers (especially younger readers), the wording may be hard to easily read in "Ye Olde English". Many sentences are similar to: "Ah, be merciful, thou! In sooth I am no lord, but only poor Tom Canty of Offal Court in the city. Prithee let me see the prince, and he will of his grace restore to me my rags, and let me hence unhurt." NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: There are a few references to drunkenness (as in the case of Tom Canty's father being prone to drink and beating his son). I really liked reading The Prince and the Pauper -- this being the first of Clemens' works that I've read. I now look forward to reading more from this famed author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name:silverpaw age:five moons caretaker: iv handled myself long enough looks: purple eyes. Silver fur. White underbelly. Mate/crush/kits:no/yes/no anything else just ask
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name-Dazzlefur <p> Age-11 moons <p> Appearance-Tabby; gold stripes on a yellowish coulored pelt and emerald green eyes. <p> Gender-shecat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Girl cat, eyes brown, noise midnight color, fur color is black/blue, front right leg is white, hazard because do dumm stuff, weird & crazy, like to fist stuff & make stuff, like art, wickend strong claws & teeth, no mate & not looking for 1, there is more just it take to long to put down, got my nook take away then something happend to it now it got fist
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: i wonder Age: two moons Gender: female Parents: ? Looks: white gray and brown pelt with yellow eyes Personality: crazy and hyper. BEWARE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in. "May i join?" &#9788
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name__ Duh. ________age:does it matter? _______Gender:Female_________Crush: Yes. Starts with red.________Description: She is a brown tbby she cat with green eyes. Her paws are white and she has black ears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The text doesn't come in right, so this version is a waste of money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ok
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NataliaAbramova More than 1 year ago
Great Classic! A really interesting book about two boys, a prince and a pauper, that switched places. The prince found himself an outcast and the pauper became a king. Very entertaining.