Prince and the Pauper / Those Extraordinary Twins

Prince and the Pauper / Those Extraordinary Twins

by Mark Twain
Item: 76717
Used Price: $3.40 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

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

 

Those Extraordinary Twins is a short story that was the origin of Pudd'nhead Wilson. Twain originally envisioned the characters of Luigi and Angelo Capello as conjoined twins, modeled after the late-19th century conjoined twins Giovanni and Giacomo Tocci. He planned for them to be the central characters of a novel by the same name. During the writing process, however, Twain realized that secondary characters such as Pudd'nhead Wilson, Roxy, and Tom Driscoll were taking a more central role in the story. More importantly, he found that the serious tone of the story of Roxy and Tom clashed unpleasantly with the light tone of the twins' story. As he explains in the introduction:

The defect turned out to be the one already spoken of – two stories on one, a farce and a tragedy. So I pulled out the farce and left the tragedy. This left the original team in, but only as mere names, not as characters.

The characters of Luigi and Angelo remain in Pudd'nhead Wilson, as twins with separate bodies. Twain was not thorough in his separation of the twins, and there are hints in the final version of their conjoined origin, such as the fact that they were their parents' "only child", they sleep together, they play piano together, and they had an early career as sideshow performers.

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