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The Prince & the Pauper (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 14 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton / Signet; Reissue edition (14 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528353
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.3 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,237,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"One of the great scholarly enterprises of the century. . . . If you want to enjoy, and to understand fully, the genius of Mark Twain, the California editions are the only texts to have." "London Telegraph [Michael Shelden] --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910). He was born in Missouri, USA. He travelled around America, seeking fame and fortune before becoming a successful journalist and travel writer. In 1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, inspired by his own childhood, was published, followed eight years later by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a sublime `drama' of errors. The prince and the pauper change clothes and are mistaken by the whole population for one another. The prince lives a life of a vagabond and the pauper a royal one. In other words, all men are equal; one has only to change the garments. And, `So evanescent and unstable are men's works in the world.'

This book gives a fair picture of England in the 16th century, worth a Defoe or a Swift: the immense chasm between the rich and the poor, a heavily biased and corrupt judicial system and extremely cruel punishment. `It was a crime to be hungry in England.'

People were hanged for trifling larcenies and slowly boiled for alleged poisoning. `Witches' were burnt at the stake: `My good old blameless mother strove to earn bread by nursing the sick; one of these died, the doctors knew not how, so my mother was burnt for a witch, whilst my babes looked on and wailed ... drink to the merciful English law that delivered her from the English hell!'

The rich chased their farmers away by foreclosures (changing farms in sheep ranges), making instantly beggars of them. They risked heavily to be sold as slaves.

This book is a bittersweet Breughelian comedy about human injustice, cruelty and ultimately generosity.

Not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 July 2013
Format: Paperback
When poor Tom Canty realises his cherished ambition to meet a real Prince, both are astonished to find they are identical. Swapping clothes for a joke, the young Prince is mistaken for the pauper Tom and ejected from the palace. Meantime, Tom tries to tell the palace people about the mistake, but they think he's gone mad and won't believe him. Prince Edward's loving father (!), Henry VIII, orders Tom to act the Prince until his madness recedes and, as a loyal subject, Tom must obey. So begins a series of adventures for both boys as they learn about each other's lives.

Once I had recovered from the shock of seeing Henry and his children all getting along like The Waltons on a good day (except that awful Bloody Mary, of course - Boo! Hiss!), I enjoyed this fable. A mixture of 'clothes maketh the man' and 'the grass is always greener', Twain uses his set-up to show the social divisions and injustices of Tudor society. Tom finds the affairs of state and trappings of ceremony weigh heavily on him, and sometimes wishes for the freedom of his old life. Edward meantime learns how the poor sink into criminality and vice and sees the cruelty of the punishments they are subjected to. Tom's story is fairly light-hearted, but Edward has to face some dark and dangerous moments in this world that is so different from anything he has known before.

Given the fairy-tale nature of the book, Twain manages to get in a lot of real history, though warped where necessary to meet his purposes, and paints what feels like a fairly accurate picture of life at the time, especially for the poor. He occasionally goes over the top in his descriptions of court ceremony but this is for deliberate comic effect - one gets the distinct feeling that Twain may not have been a huge fan of monarchy!
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By luke on 7 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is full of dreams love endurance and persevering. A thrilling tale of a rich prince who would like to be a pauper and vice versa
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mehajabeen Farid on 6 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a very funny and adventurous story that Mark Twain, (who was probably a genius), wrote about identity mistakes.

Tom Carty and Edward Tudor live very different lives yet they seem so similar - for one thing they look like each other. One day, the two boys meet and the heir to the throne and the poor poverty stricken lad have a wonderful idea and they carry it out...
The young men get a chance to live a new life and find out about how the outside world/ the life in the palace is like.

I am quite sure that you or your children have watched the Disney film of this book, which is quite amusing. Did you know that this book was the inspiration for it? Yes/ no, well know you do!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 135 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Good story told well 5 Feb. 2007
By Knightley Emma - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is our second Weiss recording. I prefer it to the Three Musketeers because (1) his voices are amazing (he acts them out much more in this story than in the other), (2) I like this story better, and (3) Weiss is much smoother in telling this story than he was in the other. I noticed a few places in the other where his wording seemed awkward or where he seemed to hesitate or stumble over the words. This one, on the other hand, was FLUID and beautifully done. Very highly recommended.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful classic for intelligent and imaginative kids. 2 Sept. 1999
By Margaret Fiore - Published on
Format: Library Binding
This story has been a favorite of mine since I first read it as a child. I have re-read it many, many times, most recently to two of my children (who also enjoyed it), and it continues to be rich and engaging. Since the language is true to the era of the story, however, it may put some readers off. Others will find that the archaic language enhances the tale.
A beggar (Tom Canty) and a prince (Edward Tudor), who look so alike as to be twins, meet and swap clothes for a lark. But an accident of judgment stretches the lark into an adventure, and the adventure into a nightmarish struggle of life and death, honor and dishonor.
Hasn't everyone wished to be royalty at some point in their lives? And especially if you were the poorest of the poor, like Tom Canty, wouldn't it be your dearest wish as a child? This is a great and yet fearful adventure, superbly detailed and believable. It was carefully written in such a manner that genuine history leaves it possible. One of Twain's best ever.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Stepping Stone to Chapter Books 7 Oct. 2009
By Houston Book Lover - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter is in 1st grade and started reading during the summer before kindergarten (so she has been reading for about 1 1/2 years). However, she has had difficulty making the transition from easy readers to chapter books. Many picture books seem too easy. Yet most of the chapter books intimidate her with the pages of words without pictures. The Level 2 Usborne Readers perfectly fill this gap. The books contain familiar, even classic, tales in a chapter book format. The books challenge young readers in that they are about 60 pages in length ("The Prince and the Pauper" is 63 pages). However, EVERY page contains a colorful image! This is a departure from most chapter books -- and one that keeps my daughter engaged. Also, all of the hardback Usborne Level 2 and 3 readers that I've ordered have come with an integrated ribbon bookmark. That is very convenient. The colors are bright. Their size makes them easy to hold and carry. Try them. You will love them for your child!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
What I think of The Prince and the Pauper 14 Nov. 2004
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the book The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain. It is a book about Edward, the Prince of Wales, and Tom, a poor boy from the streets of London. Tom ventures out to the palace to meet a real prince, which was his lifelong desire. Edward rescues Tom from a crowd that jeered at him because of he was clothed in rags. The two become friends. They switch clothes and realize that they look exactly alike! But then everyone mistakes Edward for being the poor boy and Tom for being the prince. The boys are separated.

Tom is thought to be the Prince by everyone in the palace. When Henry VIII dies, Tom is declared Edward VI, King of England. He denies it and tries to tell them he is a pauper, but they think he is mad and teach him what he needs to know to act like a king. Tom learns to enjoy being king, but wants to return to his home and family.

Edward goes on a quest to find his way back to the kingdom and Tom. During his adventure, he meets Miles Hendon, a kind fellow who was on a journey to his home, for he had finally gotten out of a war he was fighting. Miles rescues him from another crowd that is about to throw him into the Thames River. He decides to take Edward in with him. Together, they travel to Miles' old home and then to the palace to declare Edward's rightful place as the prince.

I enjoyed this book very much. It has got a straightforward theme: Don't judge a book by its cover. I would recommend this book to either teens or adults, since Twain uses some hard-to-understand archaic English words like "hither" and "thither". This book is book is not easy to read, but has interesting adventures.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Critical Review on The Prince and Pauper 3 Dec. 2000
By Melanie A. - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Prince and the Pauper , first published in 1882, by Mark Twain is a literature classic and has been read by many generations. This book is hard to criticize because it is written by one of the greatest authors, has around for so long, and it is considered a classic. The story is about one prince (Edward Tudor) and one pauper (Tom Canty) who meet each other and end up trading places. At the time they don't realize the resemblance between them, so once they switch places and go off, no one will believe their true identity. This book shows the adventures of these two boys with the roles they end up in, one it the gutters and one in the palace. The main message and theme behind this book is about the natural human fault of judging people merely based on their outward appearance. My overall opinion was that this was a good book and it was fun to read. Yet there were some aspects that I think needed more improvement
One of the aspects that I think needed more developing was the characters At first I was a bit disappointed because, unlike all of the other Mark Twain books I have read, this one had very little character description. There is not much that you know about the two characters and you don't feel connected to them. There was nothing that you could relate to with Canty and Tudor and while reading the book the only image that you had of them was a very vague image. This was why it is pretty hard to get caught up in this book. I believed Mark Twain left a lot about the characters so that he could focus and develop more on the plot and adventure of the story than who they characters actually were.
In the book, Tudor is constantly being kidnapped by the pauper's father (John Canty) , who believes that Tudor is his son , and in return Tudor is always running away. After a while of this wild goose chase between Canty and Tudor it gets repetitive and tiresome to the reader. In this book Mark Twain focuses more on the situations of Tudor then those of Canty. He also wrote more about Tudor then Canty. I found the situations with Canty in the princes place were much more interesting and humorous then the situation of Tudor. I would have enjoyed this book more I think if there had been more scenarios and stories about Canty
This book is recommended for all ages yet I found parts of it hard and difficult to understand. The language that all the people in the book speak is old English. There are chapters in the book that is just conversation. I found this incredibly hard to understand by reading it through just once. The only reason that I understood the conversations is because I am familiar with the old English writing style (Shakespearean style) and have had past experience reading books in this style. To someone who would read this type of book for the first time, I think that they would hardly understand any of the conversations between people. Yet the author Mark Twain wrote this book in a great way. This is why it appealed to lots of audiences. For example, Mark Twain's description of the palace are not like usual boring ones, his descriptions are fun to read and you can almost exactly picture things that he is describing. Also his wording makes it easy to keep reading and reading as if each sentence flows perfectly to the next.
The book also had many strengths, in contrast to what I thought would happen, this book did not become predictable. Every chapter has a new twist or turn. The story was also very humorous. It was very amusing and hilarious what Canty did in the prince's position. For example at his first dinner he begins drinking the rose water, which is intended for washing his hands. He also says that all the ways of royalty are strange and annoying referring to when the official "food taster", tastes his food before he eats it and the long, grueling task of putting on clothes which involves a long chain of people who pass an article of clothing down one by one.
I would recommend this book mainly to people in high school or older. In my opinion it is too childish for an adult reader, and I think many adults would get bored. The adults that would enjoy this I think would be those who are "young at heart", and enjoy fictional fairytale like stories. The humor, marvel, and intrigue that this book contains is for a younger audience. Also the difficulty of the language in the book is too hard for children to understand (below 7th grade). I believe that if this book were to be rewritten in modern English it would be a perfect story for a child at any age.
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