PDA

View Full Version : S. Morgenstern: Famous Florin Author or Anoying Literary Device?


Davidbw1
07-16-2001, 09:06 AM
I have yesterday, while browsing through a bookstore, I came across a copy of "The Princess Bride" By William Goldman. Throughout the entire book he makes references to his wife who he dosen't love, his rather wide son and S. Morgenstern, the the famous florinise(sp?) author of the complete "The Princess Bride" though I remebered having read something in SDMB claiming that S. Morgenstern did not exist, and Goldman was just refering to the fitional Morgenstern (often remarking on Morgentern's genious) in order to compliment his own writing (Ironicly, in one of his interjections, he comments about how Morgenstern used his wife in this manner in the origional book, and how he took out all instances of Mrs. Morgenstern). When I re-read the book with this in mind, it seems to be highly probable, however I really would like some solid proof, so if you do respond to this thread, please provide cites if at all possible.

andygirl
07-16-2001, 09:27 AM
There is no S. Morganstern. There's clues littered throughout the book- for example, Florin and Guilder are not countries. It's just an extremely neat gimmick.

I think that if you find any book reviews most of them mention that there is no Morganstern.

Scylla
07-16-2001, 09:48 AM
There's clues littered throughout the book- for example, Florin and Guilder are not countries. It's just an extremely neat gimmick.

Nonsense. I travel to Florin on business all the time. Once when I had a layover, I took the time to see the sights.

It costs $8.00 U.S. to do the walking tour of The Pit of Despair, and a local business acquaintance took me out on his boat past the Cliff's of Insanity, before treating me to some traditional Florinese cooking at his house.

Unfortunately, I hear the Fire Swamp isn't what it used to be due to some dumping. I hope they clean it up.

carnivorousplant
07-16-2001, 09:53 AM
Yeah, but what about the R.U.S. es?

zev_steinhardt
07-16-2001, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by Scylla


It costs $8.00 U.S. to do the walking tour of The Pit of Despair, and a local business acquaintance took me out on his boat past the Cliff's of Insanity,


No doubt on a pleasure cruise at night through eel-infested waters. :)


before treating me to some traditional Florinese cooking at his house.

Unfortunately, I hear the Fire Swamp isn't what it used to be due to some dumping. I hope they clean it up.

Well, the Fire Swamp is in Guidler. Everyone knows that the Guilderians can't manage their own affairs. That's why Humperdink wanted to conquer the country. :D

Zev Steinhardt

zev_steinhardt
07-16-2001, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by carnivorousplant
Yeah, but what about the R.U.S. es?


ROUSes? I don't believe they exist.

Zev Steinhardt

screech-owl
07-16-2001, 10:02 AM
Ah, but does your copy have the same back cover info?
Paraphrasing (since my copy is at home):


What happens when the world's most beautiful woman meets the world's most powerful man, and he turns out to be a son-of-a-bitch?

wring
07-16-2001, 10:02 AM
Originally posted by carnivorousplant
Yeah, but what about the R.U.S. es?

(ahem) that's R.O.U.S.
Rodents Of Unusual Size (sigh, how many people forget the "O")

Finagle
07-16-2001, 10:28 AM
Well, if you absolutely insist on being a spoilsport about the whole thing, read Goldman's most recent book about writing screenplays, "What Lie Did I Tell This Time?". He mentions the Morgenstern device in passing.

Manda JO
07-16-2001, 11:20 AM
It's also important to note that both narrators in the story are fictional: just as there is no S. Morgenstern, the William Goldman the narrator is a fictional charecter created by William Goldman the author.

Someday I am going to write a paper where I discuss The Princess Bride as the only truly entertaiining post modern work ever, because in it's own wacky way it is as post modern as anything written by more academic writers.

Spiritus Mundi
07-16-2001, 12:07 PM
He is an amusing and effective literary device.

Ah -- how often I long for the lost glories of the packing scene.

ShibbOleth
07-16-2001, 12:38 PM
Here's a copy of the letter you (allegedly) get back from Goldman if you write in to Harcourt Brace asking for the unabridged reunion scene... http://www.geocities.com/Area51/7579/letter.htm

Fenris
07-16-2001, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Manda JO
It's also important to note that both narrators in the story are fictional: just as there is no S. Morgenstern, the William Goldman the narrator is a fictional charecter created by William Goldman the author.


And to support this, let me note that the Goldman character in the book has an annoying fat son, Goldman-the-Author has two daughters who apparently are neither fat nor annoying.

Fenris

Davidbw1
07-16-2001, 01:19 PM
Uh....thank you everyone expecially Manda JO for your interesting (and somewhat unexpected) insights into this already facinating book. Please, however, include cites for your stuff, because if I tell this to my friends, they will DEMAND proof.
thanks

Vestal Blue
07-16-2001, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by Davidbw1
Uh....thank you everyone expecially Manda JO for your interesting (and somewhat unexpected) insights into this already facinating book. Please, however, include cites for your stuff, because if I tell this to my friends, they will DEMAND proof.
thanks

[righteously indignant sniff]

The Princess Bride needs no cites; it stands head and shoulders above all other literary and cinematic creations of the entire twentieth century, and is as self-evident as Humperdincks' cowardice and cruelty.

[/righteously indignant sniff]

Fenris
07-16-2001, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by Davidbw1
Uh....thank you everyone expecially Manda JO for your interesting (and somewhat unexpected) insights into this already facinating book. Please, however, include cites for your stuff, because if I tell this to my friends, they will DEMAND proof.
thanks

Read my note above: I gave a cite.

Fictional Goldman: One fat annoying son and frigid wife
Real Goldman: Two (presumably)non-fat, non-annoying daughters (and at the time, I believe he was divorced).

In the Princess Bride, Florin and Guilder were countries
In the real world, florins and guilders are currency like shillings and nickles and yen.

Fenris

Irishman
07-22-2003, 12:12 AM
Digging this thread up, because I just finished the book, and got the same question. What do you mean it's a literary device? Ack!

Fenris, no that is not a cite. That's a statement. All you did was state (and then restate) something you claim to be true. You gave no way to verify that. Finagle provided a cite - the name of an actual book one can look up.

TeaRoses
07-22-2003, 01:51 AM
*sniffle*

You mean there's no unabridged reunion scene?

Oh man, another icon of my youth falls by the wayside.

FairyDust
07-22-2003, 09:38 AM
I'm enjoying this thread. But shouldn't it be in the Cafe Society?

easy e
07-22-2003, 10:14 AM
I've read an interpretation of The Princess Bride that it's all a big commentary on hard currency (similar to ones I've heard about The Wizard of Oz). I don't remember much, but whoever came up with it thought it was very important to note the appearance of a Sandy Sterling in Goldman-the-narrator's tale, as well as the fact that Florin and Guilder are named after types of currency.

I just did some googling, and found a link to it here (http://www.notelrac.com/essays.dir/f_and_sf.dir/princess_bride_real_author.html).

Though part of me is afraid I'm being wooshed on this, too.

Finagle
07-22-2003, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by Irishman
Finagle provided a cite - the name of an actual book one can look up.

Well, to be fair, I cited the name of another book by the same author. And the author is presenting inconsistent information. So you have your choice of which lie to believe :-)

To further muddy the waters, I believe S. Morgenstern also had another slim volume translated -- "The Singing Gondoliers".

Arien
07-22-2003, 11:35 AM
So there's no chance of Buttercup's Baby coming out, is there? I didn't think so. :(

Bricker
07-22-2003, 12:04 PM
Although well-suited for Cafe Society now, I think that when this thread was first created, that particular forum did not exist.

October
07-22-2003, 12:08 PM
Last time I checked, the latest edition of The Princess Bride in bookstores has a preview chapter of "Buttercup's Baby." I read it, and it's not as good. Of course, it was only the first chapter, but since...no, I won't ruin it. There's more of the whole spiel about Morgenstern's lawyers suing him, his wife and fat son (who has slimmed down by this time), etc.

Irishman
07-22-2003, 06:27 PM
But Finagle, regardless of the quality of the cite, it is a cite. Whereas Fenris only provided a statement, with no reference to anything - no book to look up, no letter from the author, no website created by a drunken imbicile - nothin'. See my point?

As for S. Morgenstern having another work, was that one also edited/abridged/translated by Goldman? Because a librarian friend of mine did a search on S. Morgenstern and only turned up Goldman's name, no separate works. Which would have turned up if they existed.

Buttercup's Baby does not appear to exist except as the excerpt in the newer copies of The Princess Bride.

Wolfian
07-22-2003, 06:36 PM
Wow, I was just about to start this thread. Great timing!

Okay, so the narrator and the author are different people with the same name. Why was the first chapter so depressing? The only thing I can thing of was the fact that the book was written in the '70s, post-Watergate and everyone was feeling a bit bitter. Its' also a contrast to the wonderful fairy world of the chapters to follow. I guess.

Irishman
07-23-2003, 03:35 PM
Someone described the book as a post-modern fairy tale, i.e. deconstructionist. It's Goldman's way of playing with the audience, contrasting the happy fairy tale with the gloom of real life.

I've been looking back at why I fell for the ploy. There were things said that tweaked my skeptic sensor - like Florin and Guilder being locations, and Florinese scholars. On the other hand, I was thinking there was a Florin, Italy. (I guess not - there's a Florence, which may have thrown me off. Also, florins and guilders are forms of currency, which may have triggered the sense of familiarity. Note: florins = guilders = guldens, from the Netherlands.) But in the end, I finally bought in to it because of the detail and cohesiveness of the "narration" part, and that in order for some of it to be made up it all had to be made up, which I wasn't ready to accept. Turns out is all was made up.

Fenris
07-23-2003, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by Irishman
Fenris, no that is not a cite. That's a statement. All you did was state (and then restate) something you claim to be true. You gave no way to verify that. Finagle provided a cite - the name of an actual book one can look up.

:rolleyes:

Hey pal, this ain't Great Debates and I feel no obligation to do any work responding to a rebuttal to a two year old post I made.

In any case, personally, I don't give a good gawddamn if you believe me or not. I don't care all that much about the argument.

If you're all that interested in finding out, do some research on Goldman yourself and see if I'm right or wrong. If I wanted to do someone's homework/legwork for them, I'd have posted (two f*cking years ago!) in a different forum.

:: mutters :: the SDMB really needs a "No Zombie Threads, dammit!" policy :: mutters ::

Fenris

Coldfire
07-23-2003, 06:55 PM
Well, the discussion seems to continue, even after a 2 year break.

Irishman is right about the Florin and the Guilder: both are names for the former currency of the Netherlands, the former being even more archaic than the latter. Of course, it's all Euros now.

Off to Cafe Society with this zombie. :)

Fish
07-23-2003, 07:58 PM
Sheesh. If you want a cite to the fact that William Goldman, the real-life author The Princess Bride, has two daughters,watch the special edition DVD. He specifically says that he asked his daughters what kind of story to write: one said to write a story about a princess, the other said to write a story about a bride.

I can't find a cite, I'm afraid, that specifically and categorically denies the hypothetical parallel-universe existence of a son.

FISH

Polycarp
07-23-2003, 08:55 PM
However, I feel it only fair to give credit where credit is due, and particularly on this board. You all will recall Cecilís occasional allusions to his trip to Europe? And his well-known interest (albeit charged with his ever-present sardonic wit) in the preservation of endangered species?

I think it clear that Cecil captured (as only he could), and brought back with him, a mated pair of ROUSes. How do you think the Board was upgraded and its speed accelerated to the present state this last time?

Hamsters? Ptui!

Captain Amazing
07-23-2003, 09:25 PM
Originally posted by Irishman
[B] Because a librarian friend of mine did a search on S. Morgenstern and only turned up Goldman's name, no separate works. Which would have turned up if they existed.

Not neccesarily. Very little Florinese literature has been translated into English. (Some would say that that's because very little Florinese literature is any good, but I trust I don't need to explain why that attitude is below contempt.)

MonkeyMensch
07-23-2003, 09:41 PM
God, don't I love Bill Goldman.

The Princess Bride used to be an unspoken litmus test for acceptability into our family circa early 80s. It worked terrifically: You gave out the book to be read and if the subject was convulsed with laughter they were in. All was working well until I gave the book to my boss in 1984. She came back and asked me if I knew where to find the original Florinese version...

And Goldman's other Morgenstern opus is The Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern. I was up at my sister's house this weekend and my eye caught the title on her bookshelves. I have yet to read it.

detop
07-23-2003, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by Polycarp
However, I feel it only fair to give credit where credit is due, and particularly on this board. You all will recall Cecilís occasional allusions to his trip to Europe? And his well-known interest (albeit charged with his ever-present sardonic wit) in the preservation of endangered species?

I think it clear that Cecil captured (as only he could), and brought back with him, a mated pair of ROUSes. How do you think the Board was upgraded and its speed accelerated to the present state this last time?

Hamsters? Ptui!

:smack: Of course ! It all make sense now !

Exapno Mapcase
07-23-2003, 10:30 PM
I wonder if you cross reference this thread against the Does 0.9999... = 1? threads in GQ, whether you will find that the same people here who believe that there actually is a writer named S. Morgenstern are the same ones who will insist against all proof that 0.9999... is a different number than 1. There can't be two such groups on the SDMB, can there?

SkipMagic
07-23-2003, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by MonkeyMensch
And Goldman's other Morgenstern opus is The Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern. I was up at my sister's house this weekend and my eye caught the title on her bookshelves. I have yet to read it.

Eh, it's okay. Even when Goldman was bad he was good (see: Heat), but I don't think he recaptured the Morgenstern flair he evinced in The Princess Bride.

Also, Goldman used a literary truth as opposed to a literal truth when describing himself in The Princess Bride. Basically, yeah, he lied to make the story better--if you want to view it that way. But since the book is a tongue-in-cheek parody, anyway, literal truths shouldn't be expected to apply. It'd be like walking away from Monty Python's Holy Grail wondering how come the the Black Knight could still talk and move after getting everything cut off.

MonkeyMensch
07-23-2003, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by Exapno Mapcase
I wonder if you cross reference this thread against the Does 0.9999... = 1? threads in GQ, whether you will find that the same people here who believe that there actually is a writer named S. Morgenstern are the same ones who will insist against all proof that 0.9999... is a different number than 1. There can't be two such groups on the SDMB, can there?

What is this inequality (.999... ~= 1.000) that you speak of?


Re: SkipMagic. I'm not avoiding it, I just haven't got around to it yet. I enjoy reading him even when he's off. He's a terrific story teller.

Shemem
07-23-2003, 11:36 PM
'Course there's an S. Morgenstern. He hangs out with Lemony Snickett.

MonkeyMensch
07-23-2003, 11:50 PM
And all S. Morgenstern's films are directed by Alan Smithee...

LateComer
07-24-2003, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by Shemem
'Course there's an S. Morgenstern. He hangs out with Lemony Snickett.

I don't know who this "Lemony Snickett" fellow is, but I'm pretty sure that S. Morgenstern is a good friend of Kilgore Trout, the great Science Fiction author.

Askia
07-24-2003, 11:30 AM
Morgenstern's literary friendship extends to several notable journalists, including Lois Lane (she and the old boy had a torrid affair), Ben Urich (he was a Morgenstern fanatic when he was 10), and that unfortunate Hitler-mustached muckracker who owns New York's Daily Bugle.

Oh, and let's not forget all the unoptioned screen adaptations by Corwainer Bird.

rjung
07-24-2003, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by Arien
So there's no chance of Buttercup's Baby coming out, is there? I didn't think so. :(
Sorry, nope, she's perpetually pregnant. ;)

Baldwin
07-24-2003, 01:01 PM
So some people read the book and came away thinking S. Morgenstern was a real person, and Florin and Guilder were real countries? Yeesh! Still, I shouldn't be surprised, knowing that there were people who came out of seeing The Blair Witch Project and thought it was true.

At first I was annoyed at the conceit of Goldman inventing a fictitious writer, producing a novel "written" by the fictitious writer, and then praising the novel as a work of genius. But eventually I had to admire his chutzpah.

Even in his bad books (Brothers, for instance) Goldman has some great set-piece scenes, and always creates memorable characters. Do you think he deliberately made the two young lovers in The Princess Bride less interesting than the other characters in the book?

kneekettle
07-24-2003, 01:28 PM
I don't have much to add here except that a very good friend of mine runs the best Princess Bride website on the web (IMO) and I suggest y'all check if out if you haven't already. Here's the link:
www.smorgenstern.com

curwin
07-25-2003, 05:39 AM
A few years ago, I wanted to buy my wife the Princess Bride book through Amazon for her birthday. I accidentaly ordered the screenplay. I later also bought her the book, but the screenplay is nice to have, and it comes with an introductory essay by Goldman. He explains in it why he used the Morgenstern device:

He had a lot of good ideas for the plot, but was having trouble putting them together in a story.



Then i got the diea that the whole thing was an abridgement of another longer book. That made The Princess Bride possible. My book would be an abridgement of an earlier book, written by S. Morgenstern. And Morgenstern's book would be one my father had read to him by his father when he was sick (in the movie it's the grandfather reading it to me), and my father only read me the good parts because he didn't want to bore me.

Which meant I could jump wherever I wanted. I was free. So I did the opening chapter which explains how I got sick and my father started reading to me to pass the time ---

-- and then I started to fly.