By Mark Twain

One of many maximum satires in American literature, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court starts off whilst Hank Morgan, a talented mechanic in a nineteenth-century New England fingers manufacturing unit, is struck at the head in the course of a quarrel and awakens to discover himself one of the knights and magicians of King Arthur’s Camelot.

What follows is a tradition conflict of the 1st value, as practical-minded Hank, disgusted with the lack of knowledge and superstition of the folk, makes a decision to enlighten them with schooling and know-how. via a sequence of splendidly ingenious adventures, Twain celebrates American homespun ingenuity and democracy compared to the backward ineptitude of a chivalric monarchy. even as, even if, Twain increases the query of even if fabric development inevitably creates a greater society. As Hank turns into extra strong and self-righteous, he additionally turns into extra ruthless, extra autocratic, and not more capable of regulate occasions, until eventually the single approach out is a vastly harmful war.

While the darkish pessimism that may totally blossom in Twain’s later works might be discerned in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the radical will however be remembered basically for its wild leaps of mind's eye, exceptional wit, and pleasing storytelling.

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Twenty-first-century readers are likely to have a more complex response, and not just because our postmodern sensibility is so attuned to irony. Because in effect we must travel back a dozen decades to read Hank舗s story, we are in somewhat the same outsider舗s position in relation to him that he occupies in the sixth century. We can see what he is blind to: the way his training reflects the preconceptions and beliefs of his time and place. Once he realizes the leverage his thirteen-century head start gives him on the primitive world he finds himself in, Hank sets out to reform and enlighten the Dark Ages.

Since the event happens outside, there are no doors to open, and since the only way to tell time in Arthurian England is with a sundial, it would be impossible for anyone to know when it was exactly thirty-five minutes before midnight. What both these details have in common is their connection to Twain舗s own preoccupations as an entertainer. 舡 He was traveling on one such tour, dramatizing excerpts from Huck Finn nightly to thousands of well-dressed men and women, when he started reading Malory and making notes for the story that became Connecticut Yankee.

Even at the end the questions raised by Hank舗s public success apparently remained unanswered. 舡 He says here that he doesn舗t know the name of that other self, but we could call him Mark Twain. After all, the first person whom Twain took on an incredible journey was Clemens himself. Just as Sir Boss takes Hank to a starring role at Camelot, so Twain lifted Clemens from obscurity into the shining kingdom of superstardom. Mark Twain was America舗s first great celebrity. The tale of Hank舗s performance as Sir Boss is Twain舗s way of acknowledging what a long, strange trip that was.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Mark Twain


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