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This 1881 novel about a poor boy, Tom Canty, who exchanges identies with Edward Tudor, the prince of England, is at once an adventure story, a fantasy of timeless appeal, and an intriguing example of the author's abiding preoccupation with separating the true from the false, the genuine from the impostor. Included is the story "A Boy's Adventure," written as part of the novel but published separately.
Tom Canty and Edward Tudor could have been identical twins. Their birthdays match, their faces match, but there the likeness stops. For Edward is a prince, heir to King Henry VIII, whilst Tom is a miserable pauper. But when fate intervenes, Edward is thrown out of the palace in rags, leaving ignorant Tom to play the part of a royal prince. Even those who have never read the novel will be familiar with Twain's classic tale of mistaken identity: at once an adventure story and a fantasy of timeless appeal.
Mark Twain's (1835-1910) idyllic childhood in Missouri on the Mississippi river is reflected in his best known books, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. His great skills as a novelist, journalist and social observer assure him a central place in American literary history. Jerry Griswold is Professor of English & Comparative Literature at San Diego State University and is the author of The Classic American Children's Story.
“Twain was . . . enough of a genius to build his morality into his books, with humor and wit and—in the case of The Prince and the Pauper—wonderful plotting.” —E. L. Doctorow