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The Prince and the Pauper  
PrinceAndThePauper.jpg
1st US edition
Author Mark Twain
Country Set in England; written in the United States
Language English
Genre(s) Realistic Fiction
Children's literature
Publisher James R. Osgood & Co.
Publication date 1881 (Canada)
1882[1] (United States)
Media type Print
Pages 418
Preceded by A Tramp Abroad
Followed by Life on the Mississippi

The Prince and the Pauper is an English-language novel by American author Mark Twain. It was first published in 1881 in Canada before its 1882 publication in the United States. The book represents Twain's first attempt at historical fiction. Set in 1547, the novel tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII of England.

Contents

Plot summary

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 being pilloried and flogged. He becomes aware that the accused are convicted on the flimsiest of evidence and branded or hanged 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).

Literary significance and criticism

Much of the humor in the book originates in the two boys' inability to function in the world that is so familiar to the other, although Tom soon displays considerable wisdom in his decisions. In many ways, the book is a social satire, particularly compelling in its condemnation of the inequality that existed between the classes in Tudor England. In that sense, Twain abandons the wry Midwestern style for which he is best known and adopts a style reminiscent of Charles Dickens.

Though not as popular among critics as Twain's other works, the book has foreshadowed the author's successful forays into historical fiction with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In the later book, Twain depicted some manifestly unjust laws prevailing in Tudor England as if they had already existed in the 5th century society of King Arthur - an obvious anachronism.

Film, TV, theatrical, and other adaptations

The book was later adapted for the stage in an episode that involved Twain in a serious lawsuit with the playwright.

Cover, Classic Comics (1946)

In 1946, the story was adapted by Classic Comics (issue 29) to comic book format. Its line-drawn 'horror cover' was cited in Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent (1954) and subsequently replaced with a benign cover produced by well-known Classics Comi Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. House of Collectibles, 2004</ref>

The novel has also been the basis of several films. A silent version, much abridged, was produced, as one of his first films, by Alexander Korda in Austria in 1920 under the title Der Prinz und der Bettelknabe.

The 1937 version starred Errol Flynn (as Hendon) and twins Billy and Bobby Mauch as Tom Canty and Edward Tudor respectively. The film was originally intended to coincide with the coronation of King George VI, but its release was delayed and it was first screened the following year.

In 1957, the DuPont Show of the Month on CBS offered an adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper, with Johnny Washbrook (born 1944), of My Friend Flicka playing the role of Tom Canty and Rex Thompson (born 1942) as Prince Edward.

There was a 1962 Disney 3-part Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color television movie adaptation with actor Guy Williams as Miles Hendon. Both Prince Edward and Tom Canty were played by Sean Scully; using an early version of the same split-screen technique Disney studios would later employ in The Parent Trap, with Hayley Mills. It was filmed in Shepperton, England a year earlier for recording. [2][3][4]

The 21st episode of the Monkees' T.V. series, aired on February 6, 1967, was named The Prince and the Paupers.

A 1977 film version of the story, starring Oliver Reed as Miles Hendon, co-starring Mark Lester and Raquel Welch, and directed by Richard Fleischer, was released in the UK as The Prince and the Pauper but in the US under the title Crossed Swords. In 1978, NBC broadcast Ringo, a television special featuring Ringo Starr that was loosely based on the plot of The Prince and The Pauper.

The BBC produced a television adaptation by writer Richard Harris, consisting of six 30 minute episodes, in 1976. Nicholas Lyndhurst played both Prince Edward and Tom Canty. It was adapted again in 1996.

The Walt Disney Company made a 24-minute short inspired by the book starring Mickey Mouse, which was released in 1990. In 2000 it was adapted again into a live action version. In 2004 it was adapted yet again, this time into an 85-minute CGI-animated musical, Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, with Barbie playing both the blonde Princess Anneliese and the brunette pauper, Erika. Martin Short provided the voice for the villain, Preminger. The film was released directly to DVD and VHS. In 2006 Garfield's second live-action film entitled Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was yet another adaptation of the classic book.

A 2000 film directed by Giles Foster starred Aidan Quinn (as Miles Hendon), Alan Bates, Jonathan Hyde, Jonathan Timmins and Robert Timmins.

The off-Broadway musical with music by Neil Berg opened at Lamb's Theatre on June 16, 2002. The original cast included Dennis Michael Hall as Prince Edward, Gerard Canonico as the Pauper Tom Canty, Rob Evan as Miles Hendon, Wayne Schroder as Hugh Hendon, Rita Harvey as Lady Edith, Michael McCormick as John Canty, Robert Anthony Jones as the Hermit/Dresser, Sally Wilfert as Mary Canty, Allison Fischer as Lady Jane, and Guy LeMonnier as Father Andrew. The production closed August 31, 2003.

In 2007 there was a new movie about a modern-day Prince and The Pauper story starring identical twin actors Dylan and Cole Sprouse. In some of these versions, Prince Edward takes the precaution of carrying identification when he assumes Tom's role; an idea whose effectiveness varies depending on the versions.

In addition to cartoons like Mickey Mouse having direct translations of the story, multiple cartoons have parodied the storyline, including an episode of Johnny Bravo where Twain himself appears, beseeching cartoonists to "let this tired story die", alluding to the story's prevalence among cartoon adaptions.

The family film It Takes Two, starring twins Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, utilizes a loose translation of this story in which two girls, one who is quite wealthy and the other an orphan, who miraculously look like each other switch places in order to experience each others lives. The story develops into a composite of The Prince and the Pauper and the Disney movie The Parent Trap.

One episode of Kappa Mikey titled Mikey and the Pauper involves Mikey Simon switching lives with Jomar, an urchin who looks exactly like Mikey in anime form.

In music, the Canadian geek rock band Moxy Früvous recorded the song King of Spain which is a modern retelling of the famed story, as the former King works at the Pizza Pizza.

On the Wishbone TV series, there was an episode titled The Prince and the Pooch.

A Hindi film version, titled Raja aur Runk, was released in 1968, directed by Kotayya Pratyagatma. The film indianized many of the episodes in the original story.

See also

References

  1. ^ [1] Facsimile of the original 1st edition

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain
Published in 1882, taken from Project Gutenberg.

Table of Contents

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1910, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 99 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Simple English


The Prince and the Pauper is a book written by Mark Twain, published in 1882.

Story

The story takes place in England, in the year 1547. By chance, Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII of England, and Tom Canty, a pauper (poor boy), find out that they look exactly the same, like identical twins. After they put on each other's clothes for fun, the prince is thrown out of the palace, while people think that Tom is the prince. Now both Edward and Tom have to live in a world where they are treated different and which they do not understand.

Tom lives the life of a prince. On the streets of London, Edward is saved by the nobleman Miles Hendon. Edward travels with Miles around England. There Edward sees and has to live with the poverty and cruel treatment in the life of the poor people.

Then King Henry VIII dies. People prepare to make Tom the next King. At the crowning ceremony, Edward arrives and says that he is the real Prince. In the end, Tom and Edward can clear everything up. Edward becomes King of England. Tom Canty becomes "The King's Ward", a position in which he can live comfortably for the rest of his life. Miles Hendon is made an Earl. King Edward's rule is very good to the common and poor people, because he has lived that way for a while and knows how hard it is. But Edward dies when he is still very young.

Adaptations

There have been several films made after the story of The Prince and the Pauper.

Other pages

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
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