The story The Princess Bride has been in the fabric of America’s cultural DNA for decades now. First published as a novel by William Goldman in 1973, the film adaptation in 1987 made the whimsical tale of high adventure and romance a household name across the country for generations to come. A bevy of crazy characters and memorable dialogue helped solidify this as a pop culture hit. But, is there more to the story than meets the eye? Inconceivable!
Goldman presents his novel to the reader as an abridged version of an old fairytale by a so-called S. Morgenstern. In the opening pages, Goldman frames the narrative of his personal journey of inspiration to abridge his favorite childhood storybook, citing his father’s reading of it to him as a child and his own son’s dislike of the book years later. We are left with what he deems as the “good parts” version. Throughout the novel Goldman interjects himself in to designate where he cut sections that were too long and dry, or irrelevant to the plot. He retells the story as he remembered it being read to him by his father, only the good parts. Romance, comedy, adventure, sword fighting, cliff climbing, princesses, pirates, giants, a six-fingered man, murderous plots, and daring rescues.
Well, as nice of a backstory Goldman’s tale of his favorite childhood story is, it’s all bullshit. Pure fiction gold. There is no S. Morgenstern, there is no original version of The Princess Bride. It is all but a creation of the author’s mind. A very clever plot device indeed. Something that fooled this reader until after finishing the book. But, all of that aside, Goldman’s wittiness and attention to plot make this highly enjoyable read hard to put down until the beautiful Princess Buttercup is back in her Wesley’s arms once again. As you wish...
Music by Julia Louis-Dreyfest headliner Bob Bowman with his tune "Sandra's Strut," off his album Songs for Sandra.
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Podcast produced by Phillip Griffin. Graphic by Cooper Malin.
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