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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court  by Mark Twain
  • Author Mark Twain
  • Title A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  • Category Literature & Fiction
  • Subcategory Contemporary
  • ISBN 0804900299
  • ISBN13 978-0804900294
  • Size PDF 1270 kb
  • Size FB2 1752 kb
  • Size EPUB 1395 kb
  • Publisher Airmont Pub Co; Reissue edition (June 1, 1964)
  • Language English
  • Rating 4.9
  • Votes 812

When A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was published in 1889, Mark Twain was undergoing a series of personal and professional crises. Thus what began as a literary burlesque of British chivalry and culture grew into a disturbing satire of modern technology and social thought. The story of Hank Morgan, a nineteenth-century American who is accidentally returned to sixth-century England, is a powerful analysis of such issues as monarchy versus democracy and free will versus determinism, but it is also one of Twain's finest comic novels, still fresh and funny after more than 100 years.

Reviews about A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

This is not a complete copy of the book, and it is poorly formatted. It is missing the initial "A Note of Explanation", in which Twain tells his tale of meeting a stranger in Warwick Castle, who gives him a journal that recounts the body of the book. If you haven't read Connecticut Yankee before, you may have some difficulty picking up the thread of the narrative. And if you have read it, you will know something is missing. I don't recommend this copy of the book--there are free versions that are more complete and better formatted.
Twain's time travel tale takes us back to the time of King Author and the Knights of the Round Table. Unlike most glamorous takes on the old tale, Twain paints a picture of absurdity, superstition, and human misery. The honor culture of brave knights and fair maidens is revealed to be a place of incredible ignorance, extreme poverty, and shameful inequality. The narrator of the book, Hank, finds himself unexplainably in sixth century England, where he quickly asserts himself as a magician by utilizing his knowledge of science and history. Fred is a remarkably competent man is able to begin a transformation of the realm into a more friendly and advanced place. Industry, politics, and universal suffrage are his aims, and he makes rapid progress in all three. The humor in the book centers around Hank outwitting the inhabitants of the past, especially Merlin.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is actually quite long. Parts feel repetitive and parts feel unnecessary, but it is still good writing and mostly enjoyable. I was expecting a light and easy read, and while this is not exactly that, it is still a great look into the witty mind of Mark Twain.

This Kindle edition was transcribed fine but there are some issues with spacing. Parts of the book have return carriages so that if your font is not sized very small, each line is broken up into a couple of smaller, truncated lines. This does not always make for a smooth read, but it is only in a few parts of the book, so no big deal.
The unquestionable master Sam Clemens, Mark Twain, wrote this marvelous piece to lampoon monarchy and organized religion. He also intended a large advertisement for science, technology, capitalism, and democracy. Well done. And the touches of Twain's acid-tongued humor make me laugh out loud.

After being hit in the head so hard that it "seemed to spring every joint in my skull and made it overlap its neighbor", Hank Morgan, a citizen of late-19th-century Connecticut, finds himself being chased up a tree by one of King Arthur's Knights. When he accepts that these people are not insane (Somehow the notion that HE might be in a delirium never occurs to him), he decides that, because of his vastly superior education, he'll be running this country within a few years. And he is. Then he decides to overthrow the ancient barbarities and institute true civilization. And he does. For a while.

Mr. Twain uses the notion of time travel the way the best fantasy and science fiction authors use their genres: to compare and contrast today's world. And, being Mark Twain, he does it well.

It's odd how the abused are curiously sheltered, as if their maturing stopped when they began to be abused and they never matured past that. So the cynic can be curiously naive.

This book came to me when I was about 11. I loved it and still remember large sections of it from that glorious pubescent reading. This, my second reading, I have read it a second time now, and I am now five years older than Twain was when it was published. Now I find it delightful and I laugh an adolescent's laugh (Truly little boys never grow up. Our toys just get more expensive) at his merciless tweaking the nose of authority.

But now I find naive the notion that Hank could have become "The Boss" and second in command of England as easily as that. Nor do I think his takeover could have been nearly so complete.

What rings true is how that takeover could come crashing down so completely, so suddenly. Twain believed in reason and education. I think tradition, prejudice, and emotion trump them.

That having been said, I love this book! I recommend it without qualification and I hope to hear rebuttals to my comments.
Having tired of the likes of Cornwell, Patterson, Grisham, Baldacci, Cussler, Sandford, e.t al, I decided to give into the Classics. Steinbeck, Hemingway Dreiser, and all of the rest of the 25-30 greats that I sampled lived up to their advanced billing (with the exception of James Joyce who is totally incomprehensible). But as great as they were, none lived up to the pleasure that I experienced with this work by the genius of Mark Twain. Surely, we all whitewashed the fence with Tom Sawyer, and we floated the Mississippi with Huck Finn, but nothing prepared me to be transported 13 centuries back in time with the ability to take those 13 centuries of technological progress with me. I bought into it completely. Twain is a genius with the written word--so much so that I wish that I had been able to go with him. Try it. You will like it. Enjoy the ride.
Four stars because it is a classic, but it's quite different from the old comic movie that was a poor reflection of the book. It's a bit hard to read in the original Nineteenth Century style, and the hero does some pretty unlikely things, but the biggest surprise is the enormous amount of death and killing that is treated matter-of-factly, with no fanfare and little horror. Unexpected from the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Nick Offerman’s narration is genius. He brings Twain’s wry humor and sly political and economic commentary alive. He even brings life to the Medieval English passages. And his acrobatic vocal range successfully & delightfully distinguishes each character, across gender, age, and class.