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Originally published in 1881, Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper is a timeless tale of switched identities. After the young Prince Edward VI of England and a peasant boy switch places, the "little king" tries to escape from a world in which he must beg for food, sleep with rodents, face ridicule, and avoid assassination. Meanwhile, the peasant, who is now the prince, dreads exposure and possible execution-while members of the Court believe he has gone mad. As a result of the swap, both boys learn that social class, like so much of life, is determined by chance and random circumstance.
Originally published in 1881, The Prince and the Pauper is one of Mark Twain's earliest social satires. With his caustic wit and biting irony, Twain satirizes the power of the monarchy, unjust laws and barbaric punishments, superstitions, and religious intolerance. Although usually viewed as a child's story, The Prince and the Pauper offers adults critical insight into a people and time period not really all that different from our own.
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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 Back Cover:
This treasured historical satire, played out in two very different socioeconomic worlds of 16th-century England, centers around the lives of two boys born in London on the same day: Edward, Prince of Wales, and Tom Canty, a street beggar. During a chance encounter, the two realize they are identical and, as a lark, decide to exchange clothes and roles — a situation that briefly, but drastically, alters the lives of both youngsters.
The Prince, dressed in rags, wanders about the city's boisterous neighborhoods among the lower classes and endures a series of hardships; poor Tom, now living with the royals, is constantly filled with the dread of being discovered for who and what he really is.
Brimming with gentle humor and discerning social scrutiny, this timeless tale of transposed identities remains one of Twain's most popular and best-loved novels. Newly abridged text.
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