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Jessica
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About the Book & Author

[ Edited ]

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

Photo: A Connecticut Yankee

One of the greatest satires in American literature, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court begins when Hank Morgan, a skilled mechanic in a nineteenth-century New England arms factory, is struck on the head during a quarrel and awakens to find himself among the knights and magicians of King Arthur’s Camelot.

What follows is a culture clash of the first magnitude, as practical-minded Hank, disgusted with the ignorance and superstition of the people, decides to enlighten them with education and technology. Through a series of wonderfully imaginative adventures, Twain celebrates American homespun ingenuity and democracy as compared to the backward ineptitude of a chivalric monarchy. At the same time, however, Twain raises the question of whether material progress necessarily creates a better society. As Hank becomes more powerful and self-righteous, he also becomes more ruthless, more autocratic, and less able to control events, until the only way out is a massively destructive war.

While the dark pessimism that would fully blossom in Twain’s later works can be discerned in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the novel will nevertheless be remembered primarily for its wild leaps of imagination, brilliant wit, and entertaining storytelling.

About Mark Twain: Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era.

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872). Following The Gilded Age (1873), Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885).

Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897).

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter in The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910. Meet the Writer

Discover all titles and editions from Mark Twain.

Message Edited by Jessica on 10-17-2007 03:42 PM

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Everyman
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Re: About the Book & Author

This is only marginally about Mark Twain, but may be of interest anyhow; a recent book is titled "Ignorance, Confidence and Filthy Rich Fri9ends: The Business Adventures of mark Twain, Chronic Speculator and Entrepreneur." It discusses the generally unknown (at least I didn't know about it) side of Twain as, according to one review, "an avid investor, venture capitalist, publisher silver miner, and children's game inventor."

Will any of the events, inventions, etc. in Connecticut Yankee reflect the sorts of inventions in which Twain thought about investing money??
_______________
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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: About the Book & Author

They certainly do reflect Twain's interest in invention and capitalism. I'll let readers like yourself look for any more direct correlations!

~ConnieK



Everyman wrote:
This is only marginally about Mark Twain, but may be of interest anyhow; a recent book is titled "Ignorance, Confidence and Filthy Rich Fri9ends: The Business Adventures of mark Twain, Chronic Speculator and Entrepreneur." It discusses the generally unknown (at least I didn't know about it) side of Twain as, according to one review, "an avid investor, venture capitalist, publisher silver miner, and children's game inventor."

Will any of the events, inventions, etc. in Connecticut Yankee reflect the sorts of inventions in which Twain thought about investing money??


~ConnieAnnKirk




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