“Learning softeneth the heart and breedeth gentleness and charity": First Edition of Mark Twain's Classic The Prince and the Pauper

  • The Prince and the Pauper.

The Prince and the Pauper.


Item Number: 5020

James R. Osgood and Company: New York, 1882.

First edition, first issue with uncorrected text; p. 124, line 1 reading “estate”; p. 263 “do not”; p. 362 “reigned.” Franklin Press imprint on verso of title page. Octavo, original publisher’s green pictorial cloth. In near fine condition with only light shelfwear. BAL 3402; Johnson p. 39-41.

The Prince and the Pauper is a 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.

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