The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Mass Market Paperback | October 1, 2007

byWilliam Goldman

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William Goldman's modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests-for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love-that's thrilling and timeless. Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible-inconceivable, even-to equateThe Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you'll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an 'abridged' retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that's home to 'Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.'

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The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Mass Market Paperback | October 1, 2007
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$11.21 online $12.95 (save 13%)

From the Publisher

William Goldman's modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests-for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love-that's thrilling and timeless. Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible-inconceivable, even-to equateThe Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of West...

WILLIAM GOLDMAN has been writing books and movies for more than forty years. He has won two Academy Awards (forButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid andAll the President's Men), and three Lifetime Achievement Awards in screenwriting.

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:512 pages, 6.28 × 7.34 × 1.38 inPublished:October 1, 2007Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156035219

ISBN - 13:9780156035217

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Customer Reviews of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautifully written fairytale. This book will always have a special place in my heart.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Anybody want a peanut! This book is so great! I love it and read it and quote it all the time!
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Combination of Adventure & Fairy Tale! Yes, the Princess Bride is everything it claims to be. If you have only watched the movie, don't pass this by, because this story goes far and beyond the movie. (If you haven't watched the movie, read the book first!) Fezzik's humor is great, it doesn't get old. Also, find out what happens after they live happily ever after. I have read this book four times, and it's awesome.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best Love this book, have watched the movie a billion times, finally decided to read the book and it definitely did not disappoint.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must! This is one of my favorite books, and the movie is also excellent! Great story!
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Almost exactly like the movie. Any fan of the movie will love it.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious I first read this book years ago and was so happy that I did - I found it to be hugely entertaining and magical.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Entertaining, a very different way of writing! Enjoyed the princess bride story. Was not a fan of the additional story about how he abridged the original. Thought is was very unnecessary and annoying. I really don't care about the why he did what he did etc... took away from the story Imo.
Date published: 2015-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than the movie The movie "The Princess Bride" is one of my top 5 favourite movies. The book is ten times better! Although very different in some beloved ways the movie is portrayed, we get to understand how the characters came to be... how Fezzik is the strongest, how Inigo trained to be a fencing wizard, how Buttercup is the most beautiful woman, how Westley endured his torture. My dad just finished reading the book to my sister and me... it is my favorite book of all time!
Date published: 2015-04-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Comment In kindle this book is free. Why at here it is so so expensive. Although this book is really great ,excellent.
Date published: 2015-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inconceivable Just like the movie. Thoroughly enjoyable read!
Date published: 2014-09-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring To much description the movie is better disappointed I didn't enjoy it
Date published: 2014-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A fun read Great book. I heard the reading of the 6th chapter on a local radio station and decided to buy it.
Date published: 2013-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Was ok Not sure that I like abridged books. Was an interesting read considering I love the movie.
Date published: 2013-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Goldman's work on my blog at:
Date published: 2012-12-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from the movie is much better than the book The “Princess” is Buttercup, a beautiful young girl who lives with her parents on a farm in the fictitious country of Florin, where old Lotharon and Bella are King and Queen. She falls in love with her family’s “Farm Boy” named Westley, who also adores her. He then leaves to seek his fortune in America so they can marry, but she later receives word that his ship is attacked at sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts and assumes that Westley is dead. After several years, Buttercup agrees to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck, the heir to the throne of Florin. But before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws, the Sicilian criminal genius Vizzini, the Spanish fencing master Inigo Montoya, and the giant Turkish wrestler Fezzik. However, a masked “Man in Black” follows them up the Cliffs of Insanity. In the ensuing battles, Inigo and Fezzik are defeated and Vizzini is killed. But why was Buttercup kidnapped in the first place? Who is this mysterious “Man in Black” and what are his plans? And will the Prince ever find Buttercup to marry her? This fantasy novel, combining elements of comedy, adventure, romance, satire, and fairy tale, is said to be a spoof of swashbuckler movies. Author William Goldman is primarily a Hollywood screenwriter who is best known for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men. Several years ago, some friends of ours brought us the 1987 film by Rob Reiner that is based on the book, and except for one little scene through which they fast forwarded, I think because of the language, we enjoyed the movie, and I have always wanted to read the book. The plot of the novel is sometimes a little confusing with all the flashbacks, sub-plots, and Goldman's "commentary" asides. In this respect, the movie is perhaps a little easier to understand than the book because the former follows the action more directly. It would appear that Goldman is a much better screenwriter than he is a novelist. The Princess Bride is presented as Goldman's abridgment of an older version by "S. Morgenstern", which was originally supposed to be a satire of the excesses of European royalty but is in fact entirely Goldman's work. Both Morgenstern and the "original version" are fictional and used as a literary device. Goldman's personal life, as described in the introduction and commentary of the novel, is also fictional. The basic theme of the book seems to be that “life isn’t fair,” and the narrative sometimes tends towards “absurdism,” a form of literature which has never really interested me. There is a great deal of bad language in the book, more than I remember in the film, with cursing (the “h” and “d” words appear occasionally), profanity (the terms God and Jesus are frequently used as interjections), and assorted crudities (such as calling someone an a**hole and a “son of a b****, as well as even using the “s” word once—by a kid, no less). I guess that it doesn’t surprise me that a modern Hollywood screenwriter would do this and somehow consider his work as “a traditional piece of children’s literature.” Uh, I’m sorry, but I cannot recommend the book for children. In addition to the language, there are scenes of heavy drinking and drunkenness, and at least a couple of threats of suicide. Children can read about how “life isn’t fair” without all that baggage. The latest edition also contains the purported abridgement of the first chapter of the sequel, Buttercup’s Baby. At the end are some “Questions and topics for discussion,” but honestly, even though there is an interesting story hidden in there somewhere, I really don’t see anything that is actually worth discussing.
Date published: 2012-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inconceivable I always say books are better then the movie, this one is no different. William Goldman had me laughing all the way through. I even totally bought into the S. Morgenstern back story, the writing made it all so real.
Date published: 2011-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bookshelf Review The Princess Bride is a fantasy book about love, princesses, princes, pirates, giants, fighting and more. The author, William Goldman, had taken the original book (by Florinese author, Morgenstern) and edited out all of the "boring parts". Throughout the book he comments on which parts he is skipping. I thought Goldman's comments were irritating but the story was very well written. It was easy to read and faced paced with lots of action, romance, and humour.
Date published: 2010-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Surprisingly good I had to read this in grade 9 for a novel study and I actually kind of liked it. It is a classic and is really different and very enjoyable. I would recommend picking it up at the library since it is the kind of thing I wouldn't read over and over again.
Date published: 2010-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A funny, entertaining read I was apprehensive about reading this novel, but it turned out to be very entertaining. Some parts had me laughing out loud, and the story flows fairly easily from one part to the next. Goldman's writing took a few pages to get fully used to, but once the novel gets going it's all good. Very good novel and I'm glad that I read it.
Date published: 2009-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read It!!!! This is an exceptional book. The movie is great, but the book is better. It includes all the parts of the story the movie makers were forced to cut out due to time and budget constraints. For example more back story on Westley, Buttercup, Fezzik and Inigo. Also the one part that Goldman desperately wanted to include but couldn't.... the Zoo of Death. Definately worth buying to read again and again and again.
Date published: 2009-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's abridged, but it's not! I've always loved this movie, since I was a little kid. I was astonished to learn that it was actually based on a real book! "S. Morgenstern" is a completely fictional character in Goldman's imagination. Goldman supposedly found a manuscript for the book "The Princess Bride," but it contained pages and pages of garbage... for example, ramblings of the many hats and accessories of Buttercup's rich and spoiled Mother. Goldman writes his own text in one colour, while leaving the original author's words in another. Of course, in reality, the whole thing is written by Goldman, but it's a fabulous gimmick. It lets him slip in details or skim over portions of history by claiming to be doing us a favour cutting out all this boring detail and digressions of an aging author.
Date published: 2008-01-05

Extra Content

Read from the Book

ONE The Bride The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette. Annette worked in Paris for the Duke and Duchess de Guiche, and it did not escape the Duke’s notice that someone extraordinary was polishing the pewter. The Duke’s notice did not escape the notice of the Duchess either, who was not very beautiful and not very rich, but plenty smart. The Duchess set about studying Annette and shortly found her adversary’s tragic flaw.            Chocolate.            Armed now, the Duchess set to work. The Palace de Guiche turned into a candy castle. Everywhere you looked, bonbons. There were piles of chocolate-covered mints in the drawing rooms, baskets of chocolate-covered nougats in the parlors.            Annette never had a chance. Inside a season, she went from delicate to whopping, and the Duke never glanced in her direction without sad bewilderment clouding his eyes. (Annette, it might be noted, seemed only cheerier throughout her enlargement. She eventually married the pastry chef and they both ate a lot until old age claimed them. Things, it might also be noted, did not fare so cheerily for the Duchess. The Duke, for reasons passing understanding, next became smitten with his very own mother-in-law, which caused the Duchess ulcers, only they didn’t have ulcers yet. More precisely, ulcers existed, people had them, but they weren’t called “ulcers.” The medical profession at that time called them “stomach pains” and felt the best cure was coffee dolloped with brandy twice a day until the pains subsided. The Duchess took her mixture faithfully, watching through the years as her husband and her mother blew kisses at each other behind her back. Not surprisingly, the Duchess’s grumpiness became legendary, as Voltaire has so ably chronicled. Except this was before Voltaire.)            The year Buttercup turned ten, the most beautiful woman lived in Bengal, the daughter of a successful tea merchant. This girl’s name was Aluthra, and her skin was of a dusky perfection unseen in India for eighty years. (There have only been eleven perfect complexions in all of India since accurate accounting began.) Aluthra was nineteen the year the pox plague hit Bengal. The girl survived, even if her skin did not.            When Buttercup was fifteen, Adela Terrell, of Sussex on the Thames, was easily the most beautiful creature. Adela was twenty, and so far did she outdistance the world that it seemed certain she would be the most beautiful for many, many years. But then one day, one of her suitors (she had 104 of them) exclaimed that without question Adela must be the most ideal item yet spawned. Adela, flattered, began to ponder on the truth of the statement. That night, alone in her room, she examined herself pore by pore in her mirror. (This was after mirrors.) It took her until close to dawn to finish her inspection, but by that time it was clear to her that the young man had been quite correct in his assessment: she was, through no real faults of her own, perfect.            As she strolled through the family rose gardens watching the sun rise, she felt happier than she had ever been. “Not only am I perfect,” she said to herself, “I am probably the first perfect person in the whole long history of the universe. Not a part of me could stand improving, how lucky I am to be perfect and rich and sought after and sensitive and young and . . .”            Young?            The mist was rising around her as Adela began to think. Well of course I’ll always be sensitive, she thought, and I’ll always be rich, but I don’t quite see how I’m going to manage to always be young. And when I’m not young, how am I going to stay perfect? And if I’m not perfect, well, what else is there? What indeed? Adela furrowed her brow in desperate thought. It was the first time in her life her brow had ever had to furrow, and Adela gasped when she realized what she had done, horrified that she had somehow damaged it, perhaps permanently. She rushed back to her mirror and spent the morning, and although she managed to convince herself that she was still quite as perfect as ever, there was no question that she was not quite as happy as she had been.            She had begun to fret.            The first worry lines appeared within a fortnight; the first wrinkles within a month, and before the year was out, creases abounded. She married soon thereafter, the selfsame man who accused her of sublimity, and gave him merry hell for many years.            Buttercup, of course, at fifteen, knew none of this. And if she had, would have found it totally unfathomable. How could someone care if she were the most beautiful woman in the world or not. What difference could it have made if you were only the third most beautiful. Or the sixth. (Buttercup at this time was nowhere near that high, being barely in the top twenty, and that primarily on potential, certainly not on any particular care she took of herself. She hated to wash her face, she loathed the area behind her ears, she was sick of combing her hair and did so as little as possible.) What she liked to do, preferred above all else really, was to ride her horse and taunt the farm boy.            The horse’s name was “Horse” (Buttercup was never long on imagination) and it came when she called it, went where she steered it, did what she told it. The farm boy did what she told him too. Actually, he was more a young man now, but he had been a farm boy when, orphaned, he had come to work for her father, and Buttercup referred to him that way still. “Farm Boy, fetch me this”; “Get me that, Farm Boy—quickly, lazy thing, trot now or I’ll tell Father.”            “As you wish.”            That was all he ever answered. “As you wish.” Fetch that, Farm Boy. “As you wish.” Dry this, Farm Boy. “As you wish.” He lived in a hovel out near the animals and, according to Buttercup’s mother, he kept it clean. He even read when he had candles.            “I’ll leave the lad an acre in my will,” Buttercup’s father was fond of saying. (They had acres then.)            “You’ll spoil him,” Buttercup’s mother always answered.            “He’s slaved for many years; hard work should be rewarded.” Then, rather than continue the argument (they had arguments then too), they would both turn on their daughter.            “You didn’t bathe,” her father said.            “I did, I did” from Buttercup.            “Not with water,” her father continued. “You reek like a stallion.”            “I’ve been riding all day,” Buttercup explained.            “You must bathe, Buttercup,” her mother joined in. “The boys don’t like their girls to smell of stables.”            “Oh, the boys!” Buttercup fairly exploded. “I do not care about ‘the boys.’ Horse loves me and that is quite sufficient, thank you.”            She said that speech loud, and she said it often.            But, like it or not, things were beginning to happen.            Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, Buttercup realized that it had now been more than a month since any girl in the village had spoken to her. She had never much been close to girls, so the change was nothing sharp, but at least before there were head nods exchanged when she rode through the village or along the cart tracks. But now, for no reason, there was nothing. A quick glance away as she approached, that was all. Buttercup cornered Cornelia one morning at the blacksmith’s and asked about the silence. “I should think, after what you’ve done, you’d have the courtesy not to pretend to ask” came from Cornelia. “And what have I done?” “What? What? . . . You’ve stolen them.” With that, Cornelia fled, but Buttercup understood; she knew who “them” was.            The boys.            The village boys.            The beef-witted featherbrained rattleskulled clodpated dim-domed noodle-noggined sapheaded lunk-knobbed boys.            How could anybody accuse her of stealing them? Why would anybody want them anyway? What good were they? All they did was pester and vex and annoy. “Can I brush your horse, Buttercup?” “Thank you, but the farm boy does that.” “Can I go riding with you, Buttercup?” “Thank you, but I really do enjoy myself alone.” “You think you’re too good for anybody, don’t you, Buttercup?” “No; no I don’t. I just like riding by myself, that’s all.”            But throughout her sixteenth year, even this kind of talk gave way to stammering and flushing and, at the very best, questions about the weather. “Do you think it’s going to rain, Buttercup?” “I don’t think so; the sky is blue.” “Well, it might rain.” “Yes, I suppose it might.” “You think you’re too good for anybody, don’t you, Buttercup?” “No, I just don’t think it’s going to rain, that’s all.”            At night, more often than not, they would congregate in the dark beyond her window and laugh about her. She ignored them. Usually the laughter would give way to insult. She paid them no mind. If they grew too damaging, the farm boy handled things, emerging silently from his hovel, thrashing a few of them, sending them flying. She never failed to thank him when he did this. “As you wish” was all he ever answered.            When she was almost seventeen, a man in a carriage came to town and watched as she rode for provisions. He was still there on her return, peering out. She paid him no mind and, indeed, by himself he was not important. But he marked a turning point. Other men had gone out of their way to catch sight of her; other men had even ridden twenty miles for the privilege, as this man had. The importance here is that this was the first rich man who had bothered to do so, the first noble. And it was this man, whose name is lost to antiquity, who mentioned Buttercup to the Count.Copyright © 1973, 1998, 2003 by William GoldmanMap and reader’s guide copyright © 2007 by Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 30th Anniversary Edition  vii
Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition  xxxi
The Princess Bride  1
Buttercup’s Baby: An Explanation  359
Buttercup’s Baby, Chapter One: Fezzik Dies  389
Reading Group Guide  451

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FORTHE PRINCESS BRIDE[Goldman's] swashbuckling fable is nutball funny . . . A 'classic' medieval melodrama that sounds like all the Saturday serials you ever saw feverishly reworked by the Marx Brothers." - Newsweek"One of the funniest, most original, and deeply moving novels I have read in a long time." - Los Angeles Times "