Synopses & Reviews
Rich with surprise and hilarious adventure, The Prince And The Pauper
is a delight satire of England's romantic past and a joyful boyhood romp filled with the same tongue-in-cheek irony that sparked the best of Mark Twain's tall tales. Two boys, one an urchin from London's filthy lanes, the other a prince born in a lavish palace, unwittingly trade identities. Thus a bedraggled "Prince of Poverty" discovers that his private dreams have all the come true -- while a pampered Prince of Wales finds himself tossed into a rough-and-tumble world of squalid beggars and villainous thieves. Originally written as a story for children, The Prince And The Pauper
is a classic novel for adults as well -- through its stinging attack on the ageless human folly of attempting to measure true worth by outer appearances.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This edition of Mark Twain's hilarious tale of a young prince and a young orphan who decide to switch identities is set from the definitive 1979 University of California Press edition and includes a reading group guide.
Set in sixteenth-century England, Mark Twains classic “tale for young people of all ages” features two identical-looking boys—a prince and a pauper—who trade clothes and step into each others lives. While the urchin, Tom Canty, discovers luxury and power, Prince Edward, dressed in rags, roams his kingdom and experiences the cruelties inflicted on the poor by the Tudor monarchy. As Christopher Paul Curtis observes in his Introduction, The Prince and the Pauper
is “funny, adventurous, and exciting, yet also chock-full of . . . exquisitely reasoned harangues against societys ills.”
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the Mark Twain Project edition, which is the approved text of the Center for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.
About the Author
Christopher Paul Curtis, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award, is the author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 and Bud, Not Buddy. He is currently at work on a novel entitled Bucking the Sarge.
Reading Group Guide
1. The Prince and the Pauper is set in sixteenth-century Tudor England during the reign of Henry VIII. This time was marked by a great social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. How does Twain tackle this issue in the novel? What did you learn from this time period about democracy and monarchy?
2. Some might say Miles Hendon acts as the "hero" in this novel. What heroic qualities does he possess? Is he lacking any that prevent him from being a true hero?
3. What are some of the similarities between Tom's and Edward's lives? What makes the other's life more appealing to Tom and Edward, respectively? How do they grow through their experiences?
4. In the novel, children believe that Edward is the king while the adults do not. Are there other examples where children have greater knowledge than adults? Consider Twain's implications here.
5. The Prince and the Pauper has been compared in style to works of Dickens. What aspect of the novel stands out to you most?