The Prince and the Pauper (Illustrated by Franklin Booth)
Mark Twain's first attempt at historical fiction, "The Prince and the Pauper", was first published in 1881. It is a story set in the time of Prince Edward, of house Tudor, who at age nine would become King Edward VI. When young Prince Edward meets a Pauper, Tom Canty, who likes a lot like him, he convinces the two to switch clothes so that they can be mistaken for each other and end up switching places. While they play out their new roles, Prince Edward learns of the struggles of the commoners of England while Tom discovers what it is like to be a Prince and then a King. Twain wrote with regards to his novel that, "My idea is to afford a realizing sense of the exceeding severity of the laws of that day by inflicting some of their penalties upon the King himself and allowing him a chance to see the rest of them applied to others. . ." A delightfully comedic tale, "The Prince and the Pauper" is at its heart a social commentary on judging others simply by their appearance. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper and includes the illustrations of Franklin Booth.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist this country has produced", and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature". His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".
Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. His humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, but he invested in ventures that lost most of it-such as the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter that failed because of its complexity and imprecision. He filed for bankruptcy in the wake of these financial setbacks, but he eventually overcame his financial troubles with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers. He eventually paid all his creditors in full, even though his bankruptcy relieved him of having to do so. Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet returned.