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The Rose and the Ring: or, The History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (Illustrated)

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The Rose and The Ring is a satirical work of fantasy fiction written by William Makepeace Thackeray, originally published at Christmas 1854 (though dated 1855). It criticizes, to some extent, the attitudes of the monarchy and those at the top of society and challenges their ideals of beauty and marriage. Formatted for Kindle readers, lavishly illustrated and faithful to the The Rose and The Ring is a satirical work of fantasy fiction written by William Makepeace Thackeray, originally published at Christmas 1854 (though dated 1855). It criticizes, to some extent, the attitudes of the monarchy and those at the top of society and challenges their ideals of beauty and marriage. Formatted for Kindle readers, lavishly illustrated and faithful to the 1883 edition, this is a great classic for old and young alike. Have a "Look Inside".


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The Rose and The Ring is a satirical work of fantasy fiction written by William Makepeace Thackeray, originally published at Christmas 1854 (though dated 1855). It criticizes, to some extent, the attitudes of the monarchy and those at the top of society and challenges their ideals of beauty and marriage. Formatted for Kindle readers, lavishly illustrated and faithful to the The Rose and The Ring is a satirical work of fantasy fiction written by William Makepeace Thackeray, originally published at Christmas 1854 (though dated 1855). It criticizes, to some extent, the attitudes of the monarchy and those at the top of society and challenges their ideals of beauty and marriage. Formatted for Kindle readers, lavishly illustrated and faithful to the 1883 edition, this is a great classic for old and young alike. Have a "Look Inside".

30 review for The Rose and the Ring: or, The History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (Illustrated)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    According to the author's introduction, this was intended to be put on as a dramatic presentation, or pantomime, at Christmastime, for children. It was indeed published at Christmas (1854), but I'm not at all convinced that the main intended audience was children. This is, technically, a fairy tale, but it's mainly a political and social satire, caricaturing the events and personalities of the day. I'm quite certain that quite a lot of the humor flew past me, but it seems that it was quite timely According to the author's introduction, this was intended to be put on as a dramatic presentation, or pantomime, at Christmastime, for children. It was indeed published at Christmas (1854), but I'm not at all convinced that the main intended audience was children. This is, technically, a fairy tale, but it's mainly a political and social satire, caricaturing the events and personalities of the day. I'm quite certain that quite a lot of the humor flew past me, but it seems that it was quite timely. The titular rose and ring are magical objects that makes the bearer seem irresistibly beautiful to those around them. They originate with the Fairy Blackstick, who is quite unpopular after wishing some infants 'misfortune' at their christenings, rather than magical blessings. However, sometimes a bit of misfortune is good for the character. The plot is a rather slapstick romantic comedy, with quite a lot of lampooning of the upper crust. It's entertaining - but was probably even funnier 150 years ago.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alwynne

    Inspired by a Christmas story devised for his daughters, Thackeray’s The Rose and The Ring is an old favourite. First published in 1854, subtitled “a fireside pantomime for great and small children,” it’s a wonderful parody of a traditional fairy tale, with a thinly-veiled satirical edge and a dash of macabre, gothic melodrama. The actions of disgruntled Fairy Blackstick, fed up with her royal godchildren growing up to be vain and frivolous, spark a complex chain of events across the kingdoms of Inspired by a Christmas story devised for his daughters, Thackeray’s The Rose and The Ring is an old favourite. First published in 1854, subtitled “a fireside pantomime for great and small children,” it’s a wonderful parody of a traditional fairy tale, with a thinly-veiled satirical edge and a dash of macabre, gothic melodrama. The actions of disgruntled Fairy Blackstick, fed up with her royal godchildren growing up to be vain and frivolous, spark a complex chain of events across the kingdoms of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, in which a princess is lost, a prince displaced, an ill-tempered princess gets her comeuppance, magical items transform the unlikeliest of individuals, and a pair of lions comes in handy. Thackeray’s plot machinations rival Shakespeare’s, and, as with Shakespeare’s comedies, all’s well that ends well. I love this one, it’s a marvellously entertaining, surprisingly gripping but light-hearted piece, enhanced by Thackeray’s delightful, humorous, original illustrations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Hilarious biting satire about monarchies, heroes, heroines and Victorian mores, all in a faux-fairytale wrapper with illustrations and footnotes on each page, that when read in succession, make a poem describing the story's events. I LOVE my 1934 Macmillan & Co edition with its red hardback cover embossed with Mr Gruffanuff as a doorknocker. Hilarious biting satire about monarchies, heroes, heroines and Victorian mores, all in a faux-fairytale wrapper with illustrations and footnotes on each page, that when read in succession, make a poem describing the story's events. I LOVE my 1934 Macmillan & Co edition with its red hardback cover embossed with Mr Gruffanuff as a doorknocker.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melindam

    I used to love this book as a child & still found it entertaining, especially the tongue-in-cheek approach to fairy tales.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Two kingdoms: Paflagonia and Crim Tartary. Two rulers who have stolen the kingdom from the rightful heir. A magical fairy who is weary of begifting newborns, disgusted with the results of earlier gifts of a magical rose and a magical ring which make the bearer appear the most beautiful of all, now presenting gifts to new babies of "misfortune." That's the setup. The Rose and the Ring is a laugh-out-loud comedy of errors, the delightful result of the dropping of the magical rose or the exchanging of Two kingdoms: Paflagonia and Crim Tartary. Two rulers who have stolen the kingdom from the rightful heir. A magical fairy who is weary of begifting newborns, disgusted with the results of earlier gifts of a magical rose and a magical ring which make the bearer appear the most beautiful of all, now presenting gifts to new babies of "misfortune." That's the setup. The Rose and the Ring is a laugh-out-loud comedy of errors, the delightful result of the dropping of the magical rose or the exchanging of the magical ring, with people instantly falling in love with others and the consequences of that. 'Oh, divine Betsinda,' says the Prince, 'how have I lived fifteen years in thy company without seeing thy perfections? What woman in all Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, nay, in Australia, only it is not yet discovered, can presume to be thy equal?' Were I engaged in fighting for my country, I should like such a suit of armour as Prince Giglio wore; but, you know, he was a Prince of a fairy tale, and they always have these wonderful things. Wonderful fun. A 1001 Children's Book You Must Read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    Written initially by Thackeray as a 'fireside pantomime' in order to entertain some children while he was holidaying in Rome during the Christmas of 1854, 'The Rose and the Ring' is a mock fairy tale of misplaced heirs, malignant tyrants and magical amulets - an affable ancestor to the likes of The Princess Bride and Stardust. if you will. The fictional and very ancient (the story is set 'ten or twenty thousand years ago'!) kingdoms of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, always at war, have both been us Written initially by Thackeray as a 'fireside pantomime' in order to entertain some children while he was holidaying in Rome during the Christmas of 1854, 'The Rose and the Ring' is a mock fairy tale of misplaced heirs, malignant tyrants and magical amulets - an affable ancestor to the likes of The Princess Bride and Stardust. if you will. The fictional and very ancient (the story is set 'ten or twenty thousand years ago'!) kingdoms of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, always at war, have both been usurped by illegitimate monarchs, but an opportunity to unite the crowns presents itself when the (seemingly) valiant Prince Bulbo comes to visit the (seemingly) talented Princess Angelica. So what of the legitimate monarchs? Well, Prince Giglio, a good but unambitious lad, had the crown of Paflagonia taken from him when young by his uncle Valoroso XXIV, and now languishes at court. Princess Rosalba was last seen as a child, wondering into a lion-infested forest after Duke Padella overthrew her father. She somehow made it to Paflogonia, became the maid to Princess Angelica, and has been renamed Betsinda. Got that? It's a classic muddle, one only enhanced by the rose and ring of the title, magical charms once furnished by a witch named Fairy Blackstick, which render the wearers irresistible. It was Blackstick who caused the mix-ups in the first place, cursing the heirs to suffer 'a little misfortune' after a fit of pique with their parents. This is a mere trifle for Thackeray, but a fun and timeless one, with some excellent comedic ideas, such as an abusive porter who gets turned into a door knocker! It does run out of steam a little near the end though.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mymymble

    A cute and funny little book - if you get a copy with Thackeray's illustrations which are hilarious and frequently referred to in the text. The Puffin paperback I had as a child included them and I now have a vintage copy picked up in a boxed lot at a house sale. Very witty, among the cream of Victorian fairy tales. A cute and funny little book - if you get a copy with Thackeray's illustrations which are hilarious and frequently referred to in the text. The Puffin paperback I had as a child included them and I now have a vintage copy picked up in a boxed lot at a house sale. Very witty, among the cream of Victorian fairy tales.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    I've given this four stars based on its potential, which I missed out on due to listening to the Librivox audiobook instead of reading the text with illustrations. I would love to find an illustrated hardcopy one day. It's the sort of book that begs to be presented as a glossy hardcover. I enjoyed all the nonsense of this story, and wish that I had a better understanding of the times in which it was written. And I'd love to have some children to read it to (mine are sadly all grown up). This act I've given this four stars based on its potential, which I missed out on due to listening to the Librivox audiobook instead of reading the text with illustrations. I would love to find an illustrated hardcopy one day. It's the sort of book that begs to be presented as a glossy hardcover. I enjoyed all the nonsense of this story, and wish that I had a better understanding of the times in which it was written. And I'd love to have some children to read it to (mine are sadly all grown up). This actually says a lot about the book, as I'm not a fan of fairy tales. But this was too much fun to resist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 Extra: Unable to find any Christmas entertainment, Thackeray invents his own fireside pantomime - a story of kings, princesses, lions and battles. Stars Prunella Scales and Maureen Lipman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    This is a novelette and it's very funny. I read it when in 8th grade first, then later as an adult. Thackeray at his most playful. Tons of fun. This is a novelette and it's very funny. I read it when in 8th grade first, then later as an adult. Thackeray at his most playful. Tons of fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stella

    loved it...still do! :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    K.

    It would have been fun to be a child who got to listen to Thackeray's fireside tales! I've been wanting to get my hands on this book for years, thank you paperbackswap!! Delightful little satirical "fairy tale" that I think I'll be reading to my children sometime in the near future. This copy (perhaps all of them?) has illustrations by Thackeray himself, which I find so fun--especially when he says things like "...and it looked just like this..." above one of his drawings. I just think that adds It would have been fun to be a child who got to listen to Thackeray's fireside tales! I've been wanting to get my hands on this book for years, thank you paperbackswap!! Delightful little satirical "fairy tale" that I think I'll be reading to my children sometime in the near future. This copy (perhaps all of them?) has illustrations by Thackeray himself, which I find so fun--especially when he says things like "...and it looked just like this..." above one of his drawings. I just think that adds so much to the story--not to mention that his drawings are delightful. My 3yo was intrigued with them as I tried to read last night while he "tried" to go to sleep. Not sure if this is one for every palate (it doesn't read like a variation on a Sleeping Beauty or anything), but already being a big Thackeray fan, I loved it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    This book is a Renaissance fairy tale written by an author who lived in the Victorian era. I would place this story up with Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. It is well-written, completely clean, and suitable for all who can read. The plot consists of a prince who has lost his kingdom to his uncle, a maid taken into the castle, a spoiled princess, a well-meaning fairy, an ugly prince, a horrid old hag, and a rose and a ring, both of which are enchanted to make the owners of them extraordinarily b This book is a Renaissance fairy tale written by an author who lived in the Victorian era. I would place this story up with Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. It is well-written, completely clean, and suitable for all who can read. The plot consists of a prince who has lost his kingdom to his uncle, a maid taken into the castle, a spoiled princess, a well-meaning fairy, an ugly prince, a horrid old hag, and a rose and a ring, both of which are enchanted to make the owners of them extraordinarily beautiful to members of the opposite gender. All these things come together in a delightful tale.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liss Carmody

    I do love some cynical Thackeray satire, and nobody does it quite like him. This story is written for children as a holiday-time pageant (probably complete with puppets), so it's simple and has a happy ending with a morally-sound conclusion, but it is full of clever commentary and portraiture for the characters. And they are dreadfully funny characters. I enjoyed the lions, and the fairy Blackstick who has to put up with so much nonsense, and the way the final chapter echoed the Merchant of Veni I do love some cynical Thackeray satire, and nobody does it quite like him. This story is written for children as a holiday-time pageant (probably complete with puppets), so it's simple and has a happy ending with a morally-sound conclusion, but it is full of clever commentary and portraiture for the characters. And they are dreadfully funny characters. I enjoyed the lions, and the fairy Blackstick who has to put up with so much nonsense, and the way the final chapter echoed the Merchant of Venice on a somewhat more child-friendly level. I'd love for my kids to be entertained through Twelfth Night with fare such as this!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A ridiculous, enchanting parody of a fairy tale that I really quite enjoyed. It was silly but charming and overall a good, humerous read for the fairy-tale lover.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    weird little library sale treasure. political and fairy tale satire by Thackeray. parts of it were good but I felt like even the "heroes" didn't really deserve the happy endings they got. weird little library sale treasure. political and fairy tale satire by Thackeray. parts of it were good but I felt like even the "heroes" didn't really deserve the happy endings they got.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robby Charters

    I first read this when I was about 9 or 10. Many of the images have stuck with me, and have influenced some of my own writing. To find it again, I did a search, and was rewarded by a few electronic editions that were downloadable for free -- however, without the illustrations. This particular book loses a lot if it doesn't include illustrations. The very first line reads, "This is Valoroso XXIV., King of Paflagonia, seated with his queen and only child at their royal breakfast-table..." In the a I first read this when I was about 9 or 10. Many of the images have stuck with me, and have influenced some of my own writing. To find it again, I did a search, and was rewarded by a few electronic editions that were downloadable for free -- however, without the illustrations. This particular book loses a lot if it doesn't include illustrations. The very first line reads, "This is Valoroso XXIV., King of Paflagonia, seated with his queen and only child at their royal breakfast-table..." In the accompanying illustration we see the king reading the letter alluded to in the second half of the opening line, with the plump queen and the teen-age daughter. Before the queen are a whole dozen eggs in their egg cups. Thackeray's first choice of a career, BTW, was that of an illustrator. It was because he was turned down by Charles Dickens to illustrate his book "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club", that he embarked on his second choice, that of a writer. He still did a lot of his own illustrations, as he did for The Rose and the Ring. Another unforgatable illustration is that of the governess, Countess Gruffanuff. If your edition, like this one, doesn't contain illustrations you can at least make do with some of the names Thakeray chooses for his characters, like Prime Minister Glumboso, Count Hogginarmo (there's an illustration of him booting a couple of servants down the garden stairs), the Captain of the Guards Count Kutasoff Hedzoff, not to forget the country name, Krim Tartary. If you do want the illustrations, then for a minimum financial outlay, you could download the Delphi Complete Works of W. M. ThackerayDelphi Complete Works of W. M. Thackeray (Illustrated). Another character I must mention is Fairy Blackstick. For the last few thousand years of blessing young royals and granting wishes, she realises she has only produced spoiled brats. To King Salvo's queen (who then reigned over Paflagonia), she had given a ring, and to Duke Padella's wife (of the Kingdom of Krim Tartary) a rose. Both gifts had a magical property of rendering the wearer charming and desirable. However, it only turned the two ladies "capricious, lazy, ill-humoured, absurdly vain..." etc. So finally, she changed tack. On her next two invitations to attend as the fairy god-mother, she simply approached the cradle and said, "My poor child, the best thing I can send you is a little misfortune." After that, people stopped inviting her. But the babies didn't become spoiled brats. The two who were blessed with "misfortune" were Prince Giglio of Paflagonia, and Princess Rosalba of Krim Tartary. Giglio's father, King Salvo died shortly afterwards, leaving his brother, Valoroso as Lord Regent. Instead, Valoroso had himself crowned king. Orphaned Giglo went on living in the palace, though he had inherited his mother's ring. Princess Rosalba, as a toddler, disappeared into the forest about the same time as Duke Padella staged his revolution and grabbed the crown of Krim Tartary for himself. Rosalba was taken care of by a lionness as one of her own, with a lion cub for a brother. Meanwhile, the son of the new king, Prince Bulbo, inherited his mother's rose. As the title of the story indicates, the rose and the ring are significant. The main character of the story is Giglio, and the heroine, of course, Rosalba. Fairy Blackstick, though no longer the life of the party, still gives things a push in the right direction, and the result is a pleasing story with a most satisfactory ending. It's brilliant fantasy -- long before the likes of C.S.Lewis and Tolkien. Thackary proves himself the master of humour and satire. I already mentioned the the way he names his characters. If you like that sort of thing, I plan to do a review of Vanity Fair at a later time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Oksana

    Ok, being 22 I made up my mind to read a children's book. Considering the vocabulary, I could as well have been 122 instead and would've understood the writing better. The plot and magical attributes - the rose, the ring and the fairy - all seem quite banal (but maybe they weren't so when the book was written; all these time dimensions make it hard for me to be objective). What makes The Rose and the Ring special - at least in my eyes - is the form, or even the layout. Thackeray's illustrations cr Ok, being 22 I made up my mind to read a children's book. Considering the vocabulary, I could as well have been 122 instead and would've understood the writing better. The plot and magical attributes - the rose, the ring and the fairy - all seem quite banal (but maybe they weren't so when the book was written; all these time dimensions make it hard for me to be objective). What makes The Rose and the Ring special - at least in my eyes - is the form, or even the layout. Thackeray's illustrations create a wonderful atmosphere of presence. The gap between my imagination and his is immense - the author uglified the characters hilariously. In the middle of reading this prosaic tale, it struck me: in patches it wasn't prose at all! Out of the blue characters can utter verses, and then go on mumbling in prose. Short rhyming lines on top of each page and italized phrases add a finishing touch to the story, also drawing attention to what's important (most of the times funny as well). By the way, I thought Giglio was called so because he giggled, but Wikipedia claims that it comes from Italian and means lily... Not so exciting. All in all, I devoured the book quickly and found it delicious!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    Favourite childhood read, and thanks to a Radio 4 Extra broadcast, a delightful rediscovery. Absolutely barmy, cod Italianate name, silly magic and memories of Kenneth Williams reading this in his glorious camp nasal pomp have made this a very happy experience all over again. It's just a shame that the Amazon edition that arrived appeared to be little more than a computer print out cobbled together with a pre-Raph postcard. What it lacked in appearance, was, thankfully more than made up for by t Favourite childhood read, and thanks to a Radio 4 Extra broadcast, a delightful rediscovery. Absolutely barmy, cod Italianate name, silly magic and memories of Kenneth Williams reading this in his glorious camp nasal pomp have made this a very happy experience all over again. It's just a shame that the Amazon edition that arrived appeared to be little more than a computer print out cobbled together with a pre-Raph postcard. What it lacked in appearance, was, thankfully more than made up for by the wonderful content. Victoriana at its silly finest.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Oh my, what a fun read. It's a satirical fairy tale, and I recommend it to any of my friends that love a good fairy tale. It is also hilarious, just the names alone will have you chuckling, and there's some a good moral in what it takes to build good character. I reserve 5 star ratings for books I would read more than once, and this was such a quick, easy read, I would definitely give it another go. I don't think I'm finished with Thackeray yet. Oh my, what a fun read. It's a satirical fairy tale, and I recommend it to any of my friends that love a good fairy tale. It is also hilarious, just the names alone will have you chuckling, and there's some a good moral in what it takes to build good character. I reserve 5 star ratings for books I would read more than once, and this was such a quick, easy read, I would definitely give it another go. I don't think I'm finished with Thackeray yet.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krisette Spangler

    I absolutely loved this darling fairy tale. It was hard to believe the author of Vanity Fair was able to write a story like this. If you like James Thurber's children's tales, I think you'll really enjoy this. It's difficult to find a copy of this story anymore. You can read it online at the Gutenberg project, or you can download it for free on your kindle or pc at Amazon. I absolutely loved this darling fairy tale. It was hard to believe the author of Vanity Fair was able to write a story like this. If you like James Thurber's children's tales, I think you'll really enjoy this. It's difficult to find a copy of this story anymore. You can read it online at the Gutenberg project, or you can download it for free on your kindle or pc at Amazon.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Helen Farrell

    Hilarious. I loved this as a child - something that pleased my mother greatly, as she was able to say, when I was ten years old, that I was reading Thackeray. She never let on about the title. The characters are outrageous stereotypes of the worst in human nature - calling to mind the more thoughtful depictions of the same people in Vanity Fair.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rosita

    I read this back to back with The Book of Snobs and what a big difference it was! The Rose and the Ring was concise and absolutely fun to read! Unfortunately the copy I have is missing the illustrations (I only realized what I missed from the other reviews) =(

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    I couldn't finish Vanity Fair and I couldn't finish this. The satire was too carefully spelled out, the fairy tale aspects just reminded me of how many fairy tales I've read, and the characters couldn't keep my attention. I'm glad he's out there for other people, but dang. I give up on Thackeray. I couldn't finish Vanity Fair and I couldn't finish this. The satire was too carefully spelled out, the fairy tale aspects just reminded me of how many fairy tales I've read, and the characters couldn't keep my attention. I'm glad he's out there for other people, but dang. I give up on Thackeray.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This story is silly and unexpected, but also satirical and wise. And it has great illustrations. A perfect bit of holiday magic. As a kid, I found an old paperback of this story on my bookshelves (apparently discarded by my sister) and have loved it ever since.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lucille

    The drawings are so Victorian and yet so funny and the story is hilarious.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Thackeray at his lightest and most amusing. Along with Dickens' Magic Fishbone and MacDonald's Light Princess, this is the height of Victorian children's fairy tales. Thackeray at his lightest and most amusing. Along with Dickens' Magic Fishbone and MacDonald's Light Princess, this is the height of Victorian children's fairy tales.

  28. 4 out of 5

    KV Taylor

    Perfectly adorable, but with teeth, as ever for Thackeray. A really fun way to spend and evening--even if you don't have a fireside by which to listen to it. Perfectly adorable, but with teeth, as ever for Thackeray. A really fun way to spend and evening--even if you don't have a fireside by which to listen to it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hirosasazaki Sasazaki

    I like it very much. It reminds me of good and old days Japanese animations. They were very comical. So be the same. I think Japanese Animation is influenced by this piece. I enjoyed it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    This was a quick, fun, and satisfying read. The original illustrations by the author are as witty as the tale.

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