A classic fairy tale

March 15th, 2014

I'll confess to never having read The Princess Bride, but from what I understand the film is a generally regarded as a reasonably faithful adaptation. Which makes me wonder who thought that this was a suitable cover for the first paperback release of S Morgenstern's William Goldman's book:

The Princess Bride paperback cover

[Via this comment thread at More Words, Deeper Hole]

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2 Responses to “A classic fairy tale”

  1. Kris Says:

    You should definitely read it. While I'd agree it's faithful in spirit, it's actually very very different in a lot of respects. The framing story isn't a grandfather and sick grandson; it's about a fictionalised (fairly unlikeable) version of Goldman himself. There's a lot of detail about the legal issues he encounters trying to publish his version of S Morganstern's book, which makes the reader more confused as to whether this is really a work of fiction. He talks about decisions about which chapters of Morgansterns text to excise, mostly those concerning the geopolitical history of Guilder and Florin. The basic plot of the story is the same, but there's a lot more backstory for some of the characters (including the whole tale of how Fezzik came to be working for Vizzini). And Goldman keeps putting in asides to the reader at every opportunity. You know the bit in the movie where Buttercup throws herself down the hill and the kid interrupts and makes Grandpa skip "the kissing scene"? Well that wasn't in Morganstern's "original" either, so Goldman wrote his own but "the lawyers wouldn't let him include it." So he includes an aside telling the reader to send an SASE to a particular publishing house to get it. (A couple people actually did that and have posted the results online.)

    Anyway, yeah, my point is that the cover is a lot less weird than you think. The book is a lot more cynical and adult than the movie fairytale, definitely a product of the early 70's.

  2. John Says:

    Thanks for the insight. (Like my to-read list wasn't long enough already!)