The Princess Bride is a novel of pure fantasy. The reason this is important to note is that William Goldman, the author, introduces himself as the abridger of S. Morgenstern's original work, the "Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Goldman's note is part of the fiction, and yet Goldman renders it believable to the point that most of its readers will wonder, who is S. Morgenstern, and where they can find his manuscript.
There are many reasons for Goldman's note. On one hand, being the editor of someone else's book allows him to bring it to light as a satire on every genre contained within its pages: romance tales, annals of adventure, ancient histories of long-forgotten countries. On the other hand, he does this with only the most admirable affection. After all, he tells us before anything else that The Princess Bride is his favorite book in the world. By attributing it to someone else, he can join his readers in their reading process. He can observe what he wants us to observe, he can appreciate what ought to be appreciated, and he can humor what ought be humored.
Goldman wrote the novel in 1973, and sets his companionable narrative introduction in the same modern time. Prior to writing The Princess Bride, he had been writing books and screenplays for years, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Stepford Wives," and "Misery." When he created The Princess Bride and set it back before Europe but after blue- jeans, he came after an already towering canon of science fiction and fantasy novels. At the time, Tolkien was the leader of the genre, and J.K. Rowling had not even left her teens, let alone begun to jot down ideas for Harry Potter. Goldman surveyed what had come before him, and then he wrote an entirely novel. The book possesses all of the traditional elements of fantasy, but he introduces them in a way, with a humor and personal touch, that is entirely his own.
Take a Study Break!