Amph From the Works of S. Morgenstern: The Princess Bride Discussion

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by darth_paul, Jan 16, 2006.

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  1. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    I have little doubt that there are other fans of the Princess Bride movie around, but has anyone else read the book? Written by William Goldman, who also wrote the movie's screenplay, it actually came before the movie. The movie sticks incredibly close to the book in story (the only change I can think of is the deletion of the Zoo of Death), but the amazing style of the book makes it quite worth reading, particularly for fans of the movie.

    Subtitled "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure," the book is presented as Goldman's "Good Parts version" of a much older work by Florinese author S. Morgenstern which is in fact a complex and dry political satire. Goldman's father read him the book as a child, leaving out all the boring parts, and Goldman remembered the story so fondly that as an adult he had to make the story accessible to an American readership. It's spectacularly annd hilariously written. There are spectacular parenthetical notes by Morgenstern--"This was before Europe.... This was after Paris.... This was after taste, too, but only just. Ad since it was such a new thing, and since the Countess was the only lady in all Florin to possess it, is it any wonder she was the leading hostess of the land?"--and other amazing bits orienting the characters and events in a hilarious conception of history. Then there are Goldman's notes on his abridgment, commenting on the original Morgenstern and the things he skips over. It's thoroughly entertaining, and convinging too.

    The mystery of Morgenstern is tantalizing, too; I don't know a single person who didn't go looking for history and biography on Morgenstern. The naysayers will maintain he's not real, because there's no such place in Florin, but Morgenstern is a great part of the magic of the book and dismissing him too easily is a mistake.

    The 25th and 30th anniversary editions of The Princess Bride also included a chapter from Morgenstern's sequel to the book, Buttercup's Baby; the chapter is called, "Fezzik Dies." It picks up from the very moment where the first book ends and moves onward, still in the same amazing and hilarious style. As the book has it, this chapter is Goldman's one chance to win the rights to pen the abridgment; the rights for the abridgment have actually been given to Stephen King. It's unclear if Buttercup's Baby is ever meant to become a book of its own, or if it's just another fun part of the whole story Goldman is setting up outside the story itself, but either way, it's a fascinating read for any fans of the book or the movie.

    Goldman has also abridged another Morgenstern book, The Silent Gondoliers, which my fiancée has read but I have not. She was rather reserved in her reaction to the book, just saying that it's kind of strange.

    So has anyone else here fallen under the spell of Morgenstern's great story? Have any stories of your own researches into the life of Florin's greatest writer, or your exhaustive searches for bookstores that might have any old copy of Buttercup's Baby? Never be able to watch the movie the same way again? (I know I always think of the story of how Buttercup became the most beautiful girl in the world now.) Share your experiences with this truly fun piece of literature, and go get a copy if you haven't read it yet.

    -Paul
  2. Pumpkin_King Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2003
    star 1
    frequently asked questions -c/o Stephen King.com

    In the Princess Bride it says you're going to write the abridgement for Buttercup's Baby. Is that true?

    No, it's not true. That's a little joke from Bill Goldman who's an old friend. He's done the screen adaptations for a number of my novels. He did Misery, Dreamcatcher, and he also did Hearts in Atlantis, and although he's not credited, he worked on Dolores Claiborne as well, so Bill and I go back a long way. I admired his books before I ever met him and as a kind of return tip of the cap, he put me in that book The Princess Bride. But actually I think that that particular baby, Buttercup's Baby, is Bill Goldman's and if there's ever going to be a story about Buttercup, Bill will have to write it.

  3. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    lol I'd never thought to look on King's site, but I'm not surprised he had to put something up. Goldman is very convincing about the whole thing, which is part of what makes it so very entertaining.

    -Paul
  4. LadyPadme Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 5


    I loved the story. It was such a tongue-in-cheek presentation all the way through, and I loved how he wrote that Morgenstern's penchant for Florinese ritual was so boring. He took what would just be a cute bedtime story and turned it into a truly enjoyable read.

    Actually, I'm someone who never went checking for Morgenstern. I just assumed it to be tongue in cheek all the way through.
  5. Pumpkin_King Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2003
    star 1
    I read the book way back when the Princess Bride was first released on Video. I loved it then, but I can't remember all the details now.
  6. Gabri_Jade VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    Count me in among those who loved the book. :D I thought the structuring of the story, as an abridged version of an existing history with all the boring parts cut out, was absolutely brilliant, and Goldman's brief summations of the boring parts and why he cut them are as much fun as the narrative itself. :D
  7. RebelScum77 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 6
    I actually just recently bought the book and you guys are making me excited to read it!
  8. Liesl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 4
    I had never heard of the book or movie until last year when I saw the film for a class. I keep meaning to look for the book, but always forget.
  9. Coruscant Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2004
    star 6
    EDIT woops, nevermind. [face_blush] This is the lit only forum. [face_blush]

  10. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I love the movie, but I didn't know it was a book until now. I just checked it out from the library, and now I'm really excited to read it :D
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