A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
Download A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court ebook. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The book was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Some early editions are titled A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.
In the book, a Yankee engineer from Connecticut named Hank Morgan receives a severe blow to the head and is somehow transported in time and space to England during the reign of King Arthur. After some initial confusion and his capture by one of Arthur’s knights, Hank realizes that he is actually in the past, and he uses his knowledge of an impending eclipse to avoid execution by making his captors believe that he is a powerful magician. Over the next few months, he stuns the people of the Early Middle Ages by using his engineering skills to perform feats such as the demolition of Merlin’s tower, shooting off fireworks, and the shoring up a holy well. He becomes King Arthur’s top minister, and begins a program of modernization which progresses well initially. But in the end, he is unable to prevent the death of Arthur and an interdict against him by the Catholic Church, which has grown fearful of his power. A final battle between Hank’s few loyal followers and a large army gathered to face him ends with the slaughter of many knights and Merlin casting a long sleep spell on Hank, which brings him back to his own time.
Twain wrote the book as a burlesque of Romantic notions of chivalry after being inspired by a dream in which he was a knight himself, severely inconvenienced by the weight and cumbersome nature of his armor.
I feel like Mark Twain wrote this book so that he could explain through a nineteenth century American man’s eyes what is wrong with the systems of monarchy and established religion. And criticize aspects of his own culture while he was at it. There is a lot of focus on the protagonist’s brooding about all that. I would say he did this pretty well if the local characters weren’t played so two dimensionally. It seems as if they are all just pretty stupid, “savage” as he calls them, not often learning from their mistakes, or from the technologies that the yankee introduces to them.
It’s rather different than modern day time travel stories, I mean *spoiler* he does try to tear down the hierarchies, undermine the oppressors, and establish a republic. None of that nonsense about not changing the course of history or creating time paradoxes in here!
Anyway, it’s a fun story most of the time, when it’s not being too depressing- the protagonist’s attitude reminded me a lot of Ash in Army of Darkness (except that Hank is considerably more compassionate). Even though it’s lacking in some respects, Mark Twain is humorous and quotable as always.
Irrelevant to the story, but I sincerely hope that whoever did the graphic design on that cover wasn’t paid for it.
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Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
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