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Prince and the Pauper, The (Mark Twain) - Massive Historical Screw-Up
In the book, a pauper exchanges places with Prince Edward VI in London. While pretending to be the prince, the pauper meets Henry VIII, who later dies.
What I assume Mr. Twain did not know was the Edward VI was no where near his father around the time of his death. Edward was living in a far off English country home with his half-sister, Mary. Edward did not even know that his father had died until almost a week after it happened. This information makes the entire book...impossible.
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Rated 4.5/10 (155 ratings) Your opinion?
Special Requirements: Knowledge of History
Contributed By: Mr. Midget on 05-23-2000 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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Disgruntled writes:
It's a work of fantasy, nothing is impossible.
12 of 15 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Icedink writes:
Yes, it is fiction, and Twain himself interjects in a few notes that he has added some particulars to the story that do not exactly reflect the historical truth. The point of this story goes so much deeper than attempting to bring history to life, and a few inaccuracies may be easily overlooked.
6 of 6 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Pollo_perro writes:
Don't get offensive just because someone pointed out an historical error. I am the first to say that one mistake doesn't make the entire novel impossible because it is a great work of fiction. But perhaps Mark Twain did it all in a moment of inspiration and didn't have time to look up all types of facts. Good job on knowing your history!
4 of 4 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Liss writes:
First of all Joey you are not correct either. Mr. Midget is more along the lines then you are even though he is wrong too. These are the events of the days after Henry VIII's death. On Jan. 28 1547 Henry died. The King's death was not announced for 3 days, only Queen Katherine knew immediately. Edward was at Hertford Castle when his uncle, the Lord Protector, arrived on Jan 30th to take him to Enfield. There they met up with Edward's half sister Elizabeth. The two children were then informed of their father's death. Then the boy was brought to London on Jan. 31 where he was proclaimed king. Hardly a kidnapping and hardly a weeks time in which Edward was told his father was dead.
2 of 3 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Joey2303 writes:
Actually this isn't a slip up because that 'brilliant historical information' was false. Edward VI was near his father when he died because his Uncle (Brother of his mother Jane Seymour) Edward Seymour Duke of Somerset kidnaped him to prevent a regency council ruling for Edward VI. By doing this Edward Seymour became the Lord Protector until he was executed in a Coup in 1551.
2 of 4 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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