A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of California Press, Nov 12, 1979 - 847 pages
2 Reviews
You might wonder what prompted Mark Twain to sidle from ""straight"" fiction into the realm of outright fantasy. Twain transports a Connecticut shop foreman twelve centuries into the past [and 5 000 kilometres!] to Camelot and Arthur's court. Initially confused and dismayed, Hank Morgan's Yankee practicality is quickly aroused and he becomes a major figure among the panopolied knights. With the title of The Boss, his rank equals The King or The Pope with its uniqueness. His elevation doesn't distract him from a more profound impulse, however. Hank's Yankee roots and wide experience evoke an ambition - nothing less than revolution. He wants to sweep away the monarchy and aristocracy and establish an American-style republic in Arthurian Britain.

Mark Twain's scathing criticism of the sham of hereditary monarchy bolstered by an Established Church makes this among his choicest writings. He resents the condition of a Church which ""turned a nation of men into a nation of worms."" A fervent believer in individual freedom, Twain uses Hank to voice his disdain of Britain's royalty. It's no more than might be expected of a man who boasted of but one ancestor - who sat on the jury that executed Charles I. Hank knows revolutions never succeed when implemented from above. Revolution be achieved only when the individual's attitude changes from meek acceptance toself assertion. Hank's method reaches people through clandestine schools and factories, publication of a newspaper and establishment of a telephone system. These new forms of manufacture and communication become the foundation by which Hank expects to abolish the ancient, mis-named, chivalric tradition. Does he change the course of history?

Twain relocates the roots of American democracy from the heart of the frontier yeoman farmer to the brain of the urban industrial worker. Here the man of wide, practical experience shows how to survive compared to those with a formal education. Hank has a simple ambition - establishment of a republic - but utilizes a broad spectrum of ideas to bring it about. He would gladly replace the Established Church of Rome with his own Presbyterian ideals, but is aware that it would be swapping one evil for another. ""Each man should select his own religion, or make one"" he contends. Yet, finally, it is this dread force that impairs his desire for change. The final sequence stands as a peer to the biblical Armageddon, Twain wallowing in a frightful bloodletting unseen in any of his other works.

Mark Twain contrasts the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution with the centuries of slavery, serfdom, and poverty that killed countless more people than that spasm of excising of aristocracy. What else spurred him to write of human rights with such passion? He had written of slavery before, but this book is especially wrathful in describing the ""peculiar institution"" eliminated in his homeland but a generation before. He forces the king to experience the slave's condition, a form of degradation he would have all aristocrats endure. Every feature of the human condition is examined in this timeless treasure. He challenges you to follow his gaze, considering whether today's societies, monarchical or not, will endure the scrutiny.

  

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User Review  - faye200 - Overstock.com

The book as a product was just fine. Brand new condition, had all the pages, and the spine didn't break. Just as a book for reading it was so-so. I like exploring classic literature and was surprised ... Read full review

Review: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

User Review  - Justin - Goodreads

Having read and enjoyed several of Jack London's books, it dawned on me to try out some Mark Twain. It was with a certain amount of excitement that I approached A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHURS COURT
33
Contents
35
List of Illustrations
37
Preface
45
A WORD OF EXPLANATION
47
Camelot
56
King Arthurs Court
60
The SmallPox Hut
328
The Tragedy of the Manor House
336
Marco
348
Dowleys Humiliation
358
SixthCentury Political Economy
368
The Yankee and the King Sold as Slaves
382
A Pitiful Incident
396
An Encounter in the Dark
406

Knights of the Table Round
68
Sir Dinadan the Humorist
76
An Inspiration
82
The Eclipse
90
Merlins Tower
98
The Boss
108
The Tournament
118
Beginnings of Civilization
126
The Yankee in Search of Adventures
134
Slow Torture
144
Freemen
152
Defend Thee Lord
164
Sandys Tale
172
Morgan le Fay
184
A Royal Banquet
194
In the Queens Dungeons
206
KnightErrantry as a Trade
220
The Ogres Castle
226
The Pilgrims
236
The Holy Fountain
250
Restoration of the Fountain
262
A Rival Magician
272
A Competitive Examination
284
The First Newspaper
298
The Yankee and the King Travel Incognito
310
Drilling the King
320
An Awful Predicament
412
Sir Launcelot and Knights to the Rescue
422
The Yankees Fight with the Knights
428
Three Years Later
442
The Interdict
452
War
458
The Battle of the SandBelt
472
A Postscript by Clarence
488
APPENDIXES
495
THE GOVERNORS ISLAND READING
497
MARK TWAINS WORKING NOTES
511
MARK TWAINS DRAFT PREFACES
516
EDMUND C STEDMAN TO CLEMENS 7 JULY 1889
519
PROSPECTS ILLUSTRATIONS AND PUBLISHERS ANNOUNCEMENT
523
THE DOHENY PROOF
544
EXPLANATORY NOTES
547
TEXTUAL APPARATUS
569
TEXTUAL INTRODUCTION
571
DESCRIPTION OF TEXTS
621
TEXTUAL NOTES
628
EMENDATIONS OF THE COPYTEXT
659
REJECTED SUBSTANTIVES
697
ALTERATIONS IN THE MANUSCRIPT
706
WORD DIVISION IN THIS VOLUME
826
Copyright

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About the author (1979)

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), best known to the world by his pen-name Mark Twain, was an author and humorist, noted for his novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel," and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876, among many others.

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