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The Prince and the Pauper

Critique • Quotes

The Prince and the Pauper first editionFirst Canadian edition
By Mark Twain
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

A Tale For Young People of All Ages

First publication

Literature form

Literary, historical fiction, adventure, children's

Writing language

Author's country
United States

Approx. 60,500 words

Notable lines

I will set down a tale as it was told to me by one who had it of his father, which latter had it of his father, this last having in like manner had it of his father—and so on....

— First line, "Preface"

In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him.

— First line, "Chapter 1"

It may be history, it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened; but it could have happened.


He had a hard time of it, but did not know it. It was the sort of time that all the Offal Court boys had, therefore he supposed it was the correct and comfortable thing. When he came home empty-handed at night, he knew his father would curse him and thrash him first, and that when he was done the awful grandmother would do it all over again and improve on it; and that away in the night his starving mother would slip to him stealthily with any miserable scrap or crust she had been able to save for him by going hungry herself, notwithstanding she was often caught in that sort of treason and soundly beaten for it by her husband.


"When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books; for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved, and the heart."


The reign of Edward VI was a singularly merciful one for those harsh times. Now that we are taking leave of him, let us try to keep this in our minds, to his credit.

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes

See also:

Oliver Twist



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