My daughters are enamored of The Princess Bride (as well they should be). I’d like to get a hardcover for their bedtime reading. Which edition should I look for? There’s a “Good Parts” edition and several others. I’m confused.
Get the Morgenstern.
Mine has the original Florinese on the left-hand page and the English translation on the right-hand pages. With the Dobash woodcuts.
Although I like to keep up the ruse, I’m going to give a serious answer:
There is only one edition of the Princess Bride, not counting the reprints and rereleases, of course. The Princess Bride was written by William Goldman and published in 1973. In a very clever backstory, Goldman claims that the book was actually written by a Florinese author named S. Morgenstern, and that he was told the story as a child, but when he read it for himself, he did not like what he read. It turns out that what he was read were only the “good parts” of the story, so he decided not only to translate the story from its original Florinese, but also abridge it into a “good parts version” such as the one his father told him as a kid. There are some humorous footnotes in which he talks about what he (supposedly) took out of the story and why. (The original printing of this book has these explanitory notes in red text- all further reprintings have them in italics. In keeping with the backstory, the original printing of the book had the following text on the cover: "The Princess Bride. S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure. The “Good Parts” Version, Abridged by William Goldman, Author of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The current edition of the book- a paperback dated 2007 with the 30th Anniversary text- keeps the Morgenstern line but omits the claim of being an abridgement.)
The book has been updated over the years, mainly to replace the address of the publisher that appears in the text itself as a portion of the ruse (it’s now a website link). Goldman wrote a new introduction for the 25th anniversary edition talking about what has supposedly happened in the 25 years since he first translated the book, as well as an epilogue featuring the first chapter of a supposed sequel by Morgenstern entitled Buttercup’s Baby (which Morgenstern’s estate refuses him to release). The current edition of the book is the 30th Anniversary Edition, published by Houghton Mifflin, which adds another introduction alongside the 25th Anniversary introduction and Buttercup’s Baby and the original text.
When the kids are old enough, they’ll probably learn Florinese and read the original Morgenstern, but for now, stick with Goldman’s translation. (Sorry, I had to keep it alive.)
There’s a reason for the edited version. The original is a real slog, lemme tell ya, Goldman wasn’t kidding. Save it for when they’re older.
I got caught on this just after the film came out - I stomped about 7km, stopping in every book store from Yonge & Eglinton down to Queen & Spadina looking for a copy that wasn’t abridged. When I got to Bakka Books (one of the best SF and Fantasy stores around) I finally asked why all I could find was the abridged version.
The clerk laughed at me extensively, and then took me into the back where he gave me a 1600 page tome bound in red leather, hand written in Florinese caligraphy, which I read over the next 2 years…
Don’t settle for cheap imitations.
He fobbed you off with the one volume edition?!
Whilst I agree it contains most of the real action, and quite a bit of the court etiquette, you’re really missing out on some of the more interesting genealogy.
If you can find it (and no, I can’t lend you mine) you really should get the ten-volume annotated edition. The original Florinese is admittedly difficult to follow, but I find that the linguistic footnotes are a big help. The expanded appendices on Florinese history and S. Morgenstern’s autobiography (footnoted by his publisher to include the more lurid events of his life which he omitted) really added to my appreciation of the story.
I only wish that Morgentern’s estate had permitted the inclusion of the full text of Buttercup’s Baby instead of the abridged version which comprises Volume VIII. Still, at 1000 pages it did make for an amusing read.
What’s the URL?
I actually wrote to the publisher, to get the missing text. I got a cute little letter, in which Goldman claims to be tied up in litigation with Morganstern’s heirs, and thus still unable to give the missing text. It was good for a chuckle.
You can do that by email now, if you don’t want to go the snail mail route. (I did, a few years back…)
The website is PrincessBrideBook.com.
I’d love to know if the OP was serious or not. I’d hate to think that (s)he was getting NO help at all just because we all wanted to be cute.
ETA: Not to say mobo’s analysis wasn’t good; it’s just that it seems that multiple actual opinions are in order, if not a clarification of how much the OP knows about what (s)he’s asking.
Sounds like it would be easier to just buy the DVD. Surely it has English subtitles.
So did I, several years ago. It came back stamped “no such person at this address”, or something like that. Understandable, I guess, since I have the version with the authors asides in red text. It took a bit of searching to find that, too.
Get the one with the rules to Mornington Crescent in the appendix. You’d be amazed at how relevant it is.
Is it a first edition? Those go for several hundred bucks these days. And Goldman apparently doesn’t sign anything…so signed copies are inconceivable…
…sorry; had to be done.
Thank you mobo85. Everyone else
If you don’t know, you have to ask.
Hey, I was serious.
There is a passage near the end of one chapter in which Goldman claims that he was not allowed to publish some part. He gives an address, and claims that if you write to the editor, you can get the missing part.
I was curious to see just how far Goldman intended to carry the joke. If you write to that address, they will send you a form letter, claiming that the “missing part” is still tied up in litigation. Goldman never breaks character.
Goldman elaborates on his legal troubles with the Morgenstern estate (and reproduces the text of the original letter) in the 25th Anniversary edition. He is unable to reproduce the whole book, in part due to his legal problems, and also because the Morgenstern estate has given Stephen King the rights to adapt it, believing him to be a bigger draw than Goldman.
You want the first edition, with the wacky cover art. I ought to know, I own one.
Way back in the middle seventies my family used this as a loose litmus test for judging people and whether they had the right sense of humor to fit in. I credit my sister Mary for this one and remember most folks reading the paperback and saying they were in stitches. William Goldman is nothing if not a terrific story-teller.
So I gave a copy to my manager of a Xerox shop at which I was working, and she came back with, “Boy! Would I ever love to get a copy of the original Florinese.”