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Old 12-12-2012, 11:16 PM   #25
SteveEisenberg
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If I can open up this thread again, I just finished the The Princess Bride.

I read everything in the 30th anniversary edition except for some of the torture paragraphs. Liked it? Not really, but it gives a lot to think about.

Reading through the thread, I see that my ideas about the book are hardly mentioned. If somebody can show me I'm wrong, maybe I'll look back on it more fondly.

This novel is the story of being someone who abridges works written by others. As a screenwriter, that's what William Goldman does.

However, Goldman isn't, in the Princess Bride, writing a movie script. He is turning a literary classic supposedly studied by Columbia professors into a children's book. I can't get around the idea that he is either:

A. Showing self-loathing about how screenwriters like himself butcher their source material

or

B. Insulting the gullibility of those in his audience who will focus on the kids-love-it non-italicized parts and find them emotionally plausible despite the impossibilities (dead doesn't really mean dead, wed to an evil man doesn't really mean married).

As for the fairy tale, how can any adult be supposed to like Wesley and Buttercup. Do people remember how dumb Buttercup had to be to believe so long that the Prince actually let Wesley get away? And how evil Wesley had to be to be the Dread Pirate Roberts for even a short time?

One part of the anniversary material that I thought was important was when Goldman said how pleased he was to see a couple at the beach wearing "Wesley never dies" T-shirts. He sincerely doesn't want to be contemptuous of those who pay his bills. But can he help it?

I did not understand the references to Stephen King. Is it just a simple admission of jealousy for King's greater success? Or is Stephen King supposed to be just one more betrayer of literature who sold out to popular culture? Or is it that King=Morgenstern, in which case most of what I am saying here is wrong.

I've read one other Goldman book, The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway. He wrote that book for people like himself. And I liked it. None of the angst about the relationship between reader and writer.

I'll bet one person who knows exactly what the Princess Bride is about is his ex.
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