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


ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP A nineteenth-century American travels back in time to sixth-century England in this darkly comic social satire. THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES: A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information; A chronology of the author's life and work; A timeline of significant events that proENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP A nineteenth-century American travels back in time to sixth-century England in this darkly comic social satire. THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES: A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information; A chronology of the author's life and work; A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context; An outline of key themes and plot points to guide the reader's own interpretations; Detailed explanatory notes; Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work; Discussion questions; A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience ...

Title : A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Author :
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ISBN : 9781416534730
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Reviews

  • Anne
    2019-03-15 13:58

    DNF 60%I just came to the realization a few minutes ago that I'm a grown-ass woman who doesn't have to read boring shit.And THIS?This was some boring shit!Ok, I'll be the first to admit that classics aren't 'my jam', but A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court looked, on the surface, fun enough to be readable.BZZZZT!Ok, for example:This woman (whatshername) is reading a reallyreallyreally dull account of some fight between knights. But instead of just SAYING, "Whatshername reads a really dull account of some fight between knights.", Twain writes out PAGES and PAGES of a really fucking dull fight between knights and forces us to read the goddamn thing!Fuck you, Mark Twain! FUCK YOU!So what was this about? Fuck all if I know. All I got out of it (and I read over half!) was that Twain hates the Catholic church, and thinks people in the middle ages were stinky retards.Oh, but Anne! What about Twain's trademark humor?Where was the funny?! Show it to me! Show me the funny! You can't, because it's NOT there! In fact, this book is like some weird black hole that literally sucks the happiness out of you.Have you been bitten by a good story lately?Well, here! This...this is the antidote to a good book!I started this at the end of January and it's now April. I'm calling it. Time of death: 8:41 am. 4/5/17Buddy read on 1/30/17 with Jeff, Holly, & Ginger!

  • Ariel
    2019-03-10 14:03

    It's rare that I get swept up in a story for class, but this book managed it! I've never read any Mark Twain before, and this was a super fun place to start with. This book was hilarious, clever, and endlessly interesting. It's biggest fault for me is its length - there really is no reason for it to be this long, especially since the narrative is very much anecdotal and actually felt a lot like a short story collection. I'm very interested in picking up another Mark Twain in the future!

  • Kara
    2019-03-07 13:59

    Most people think they know this story - but they don't - they just know the fish-out-of-water story that is just the surface of this book; this is really a story of about the biggest problems Mark Twain observed in his time period, including slavery, abuses of political power, unchecked factory growth, child labor, and frightening new war technology. The final battle scene eerily predicts World War One. While the book has many funny moments, it's really a somber, reflective, sad story.

  • Evgeny
    2019-02-20 06:59

    A buddy read with Anne, Ginger, and Jeff. Please let me know if I forgot anybody.Does it even make sense to give a brief plot description for a classic book? I always do, so here goes. A typical 19th century Yankee (from - you guessed it - Connecticut) ended up in 6th century, right at King Arthur court. Using modern skills and knowledge he secured the second position of the kingdom and not liking the current state of affairs tried to change them hoping to establish a republic. I cannot fully express my disappointment. After countless rereads of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn I thought Mark Twain Could Do No Wrong. After finishing the book I learned something new: he could. Some parts of the book were so boring I considered DNFing several times. I hoped I would be able to rate it with 3 stars; after all the guy is an undisputed classic of US literature, but anything I almost DNFed does not deserve more than 2. What is so bad and boring about it? Mark Twain used any excuse to get on a soapbox and heavily preach about the evils of the absolute monarchy. At this point I would like to ask a question: what was the point? I seriously doubt any civilized person of 19th century thought the absolute monarchy is the best form of government there is. For this reason all the satirical descriptions seemed wasted. Other than satire there was very heavy preaching on the same subject as I already mentioned. Do you think I exaggerate? Allow me to explain. Suppose you ever end up in a situation which force on you serious sleep deprivation (you are a breastfeeding mother, or you are a POW in a country which did not sign the Geneva Convention, or Freddy Krueger inhabits your dreams) and finally you manage to get some much-needed shuteye. Right in the middle of it some jerk wakes you up asking whether the absolute monarchy is the best thing since sliced bread. If you have finished this book I guarantee you will be able to give a correct answer right away, before you even realize who you are and what is going on. Mark Twain still was a great humorist and the parts where he remembered it were funny, some of them quite a lot. Unfortunately these moments were few and between and the farther the tale went the fewer they were. The funniest moment made me realize something.I am talking about the description of the joys of wearing heavy armor. We all laugh at depiction of female warriors in chainmail bikini justifiable considering them impractical and outright sexist. We applaud the depiction of female warriors in full armor. Consider this: we are talking about fairly thick plates of steel all over your body. The thing is so heavy medieval knights had to use help climbing on their horse. The full armor might not be sexist, but it is equally impractical! The funny moments were able to bring the rating to 2.5 stars which I reluctantly round down; there is no way this is 3 star read for me.

  • Lyn
    2019-03-17 12:06

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain is a must read classic. It is so much more than Bing Crosby fooling the medieval English into believing he created a solar eclipse. It is so much more than a time travel novel and anachronistic knowledge. It is so much more even than a satirical vehicle to examine the deficiencies in romantic England and a tongue in cheek critique of his own nineteenth century culture. This book is all these and all put together under the genius umbrella of Twain’s brilliant humor and skill. A scathing rebuke and burlesque of chivalric, romantic sentiment, the book is also a literary monster truck beat down of both anglophiles and Southern apologists of his own time. First published in 1889, it is still fresh and relevant today and still humorous, I laughed out loud a couple of times and his sharp observations made me smile throughout.

  • Jeff
    2019-03-17 13:19

    Welcome to Mark Twain’s cranky, bilious period! Beset by financial problems, bad investments and the complete failure of his meth lab experiments……Twain looked to work off some steam.He was too old for hookers, so he wrote this book.The blurb on the back of my edition throws a lot of prospective literary terms at the reader: Satire? Utopian vision? Romantic fantasy? Hilarious Comedy? Well, the fact that all these are bandied about should give you pause for thought, because this book is difficult to pigeon hole and as a result it’s somewhat of a hot mess.Emphasis on “mess”.The gist of it: After getting into a brawl with a guy named Hercules and getting a lead pipe upside his head, the Yankee ends up in a faux Medieval Arthurian times. Because he’s a self-righteous, smug prick, who happens to be handy with just about everything, he sets about trying to modernize medieval England.Utopian, satirical, romantic, chivalric hilarity ensues.Along the way, Twain gets on his soapbox and rants unendingly about the Catholic Church, monarchies, the Ruling Class, rich people, braggarts, the Catholic Church, people who don’t bathe, the Catholic Church, phonies, people who endlessly tell the same old jokes……and the Catholic Church.I honestly thought this book would have been a lot more fun than it was. I was probably basing that expectation on the movie version, the Bugs Bunny cartoon and most of the rest of Twain’s body of work. Twain’s wit (it can be dark, scathing and twisted at times, kids) is in evidence, but the jarring tonal shifts and my inability to suspend disbelief kind of left me with a dull headache. I had a hard time believing the Yankee was capable of making such radical technology changes all by himself and keeping many of his factories in secret.The devastating ending brought home one of Twain’s many core points, this one about the futility (and tragedy) of trying to bring technology and values to a time and place that they don’t belong, but by that time I was pushing myself to read it. Subtlety thy name isn’t Twain.The takeaway: If you somehow get transported into the past, don’t be a presumptuous asshole and try to change everything, go with the flow for a while, then use your knowledge from the future to appoint yourself Grand Emperor of Earth. Also, stay in school and don’t do drugs.This was a rogue pantsless buddy read with the likes of Hog-washer and Bacon Breeder Ginger, Everyone’s favorite diaper-wearing Canadian – Evgeny, Holly Go-Lightly and former director of A.I.M. – Boise, Anne. She was let go for pantsing M.O.D.O.K.If you want to read a tale based on this book minus the humbug whining, try L. Sprague de Camp’s Lest Darkness Fall. If you want your Arthurian legends better served, there’s plenty of better options as well.

  • Jim
    2019-03-09 09:17

    I don't know why this book doesn't rank higher among the classics & isn't discussed more. Twain manages to highlight more of our human & modern society's ills & graces than any other book I've read. This is not just a man out of his time, but a journey of discovering just how large, fast changes, seemingly made for the best, can actually be horrifying with unforeseen consequences. (Sound familiar? Haven't we all been talking about how technology & the Internet has changed our lives so much recently?)Twain somehow manages to cover it all in this fairly short book; the justice system, technology, human rights, & war. Was he a time traveler himself? He first published this book in 1872, but the final battle is eerily reminiscent of World War I which took place over 3 decades later.Twain's themes are practically timeless, as often hilarious as they are poignant. The section where Hank, the Connecticut Yankee, is traveling with Arthur incognito is one of my favorites. The Yankee might be out of place, but Arthur is even more so in his own time & kingdom simply due to his status. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to, but is wonderful, giving even Shakespeare a run for his money. Take this gem:I passed them at a rattling gait, and as I went by I flung out a hair-lifting soul-scorching thirteen-jointed insult which made the king's effort poor and cheap by comparison. I got it out of the nineteenth century where they know how.The story isn't perfect. Characters were too often caricatures, common to Twain's writing, but he uses this to great effect when circumstance suddenly twists. There was quite a bit of convenience to the plot, but again this is used to make his points. Overall it is an amazing read & one that should be hauled out every decade or so & reviewed.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-02-22 08:49

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twainبا عنوانهای: غریبه ای در قصر؛ یک یانکی در دربار آرتور شاه؛ ینگه دنیائی در دربار آرتور شاه؛ نویسنده: مارک تواین؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست وهشتم ژانویه سال 2016 میلادیعنوان: یک یانکی در دربار آرتور شاه؛ نویسنده: مارک تواین؛ مترجم: فریده مهدوی دامغانی؛ تهران، تیر، 1379؛ در 193 ص؛ شابک: 9646581471؛ داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 19 معنوان: ینگه دنیائی در دربار آرتور شاه؛ نویسنده: مارک تواین؛ مترجم: علی فاطمیان؛ تهران، تیر، 1379؛ در 233 ص؛ شابک: 9644221753؛ با عنوان: غریبه ای در قصر؛ نویسنده: مارک تواین؛ مترجم: علی اکبر لبش؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1394؛ در 343 ص؛ شابک: 9786002296757؛ رمان «غریبه‌ای در قصر» نوشته‌ ی «مارک تواین»، نویسنده‌ ی مشهور آمریکایی و خالق رمان‌های محبوب «ماجراهای هاکلبری‌فین» و «ماجراهای تام سایر» است. داستان غریبه‌ ای در قصر این‌گونه آغاز می‌شود: «من امریکایی هستم. در هارتفورد ایالت کانکتیکات درست بالای رودخانه در روستایی متولد و بزرگ شدم. بنابراین یک ینگه‌ دنیایی واقعی و کار‌بلد هستم. بله و تقریبا خالی از احساسات عاطفی یا به عبارت دیگر خالی از طبع شعر. پدرم آهنگر بود و عمویم بیطار (دامپزشک) و من در کودکی هر دو کار را یاد گرفتم. سپس به کارخانه‌ ی اسلحه‌ ی بزرگی رفتم و حرفه‌ ی اصلی‌ام را آموختم؛ تمام آن‌چه را که مربوط به کار بود فراگرفتم. ساختن همه‌ چیز را یاد گرفتم: تفنگ، ششلول، توپ، دیگ بخار، موتور و تمام انواع ماشین‌ آلاتی که کارها را آسان می‌کند. من می‌توانم تمام چیزهای مورد نیاز انسان را بسازم، هر چیزی را، فرقی نمی‌کند و اگر روش جدیدی برای ساختن آن وجود نداشته باشد، به آسانی غلتاندن کنده‌ ی درخت، اختراعش می‌کنم. خلاصه، در کارخانه سرکارگر شدم و دوهزار نفر زیر‌دستم بودند. خب، چنین آدمی کله‌ اش پرباد می‌شود و حرف کسی را قبول نمی‌کند. آدمی که دوهزار مرد خشن زیر‌دستش باشند مثل خروس‌ جنگی می‌شود، به‌ هر حال من این‌طوری بودم. تا این‌که حریفی پیدا شد و حقم را کف دستم گذاشت. سوء تفاهمی میان من و او که هرکول صدایش می‌زدیم پیش آمد و برای رفع آن دست به دیلم بردیم. او ضربه‌ ای به سرم زد و ...؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2019-03-05 07:09

    Man, there is so much potential criticism of modern times in this book, but I would be remiss to dissect it within the framework of my own reality given that I am not an historian, not Mark Twain, this book is not specifically relevant to or directly critical of my world so much as a persistent shadow upon it, and it is straight-up just not 1889 or 5 to 15-something right now. Oh, and thank the old gods and the new for that shit. I've known a lot of re-enactors and Fantasy/Medieval literature buffs in my day, being largely from a small-ish Oklahoma town with a percentage of jugglers, fire-dancers, chainmail-makers, tarot-readers, and general Carnie-types that would surprise the pants off someone from outside the community, especially considering I'm referring to a city that is smack in the middle of The Bible Belt. Getting to the point, fun as a circus can be to watch, Medieval Times sound like they sucked for pretty much everyone involved. I hope that no one would actually, intentionally go all Ash into history if given a time machine. Fuuuuuck that.I know it's easy to romanticize faraway times, especially when they have been completely fabricated to begin with. Arthur! My cell phone pisses me off as much as the next guy, bills and forms and the like get me down too, etc. Expired tags, time-clocks, health insurance premiums, shit like that. The notion of a place with simpler customs and an off-the-land lifestyle, sure it sounds fucking sweet in theory. However, Twain reality-checks with a bitch-slap here. Rather than fair maidens with diamond-encrusted fancy ringlet hairdos which take half a day to fashion, and gallant knights with silky golden locks and shining armor who would fight to the death for their loved ones, it's more like, you know, smallpox and swamp-ass. Technology, medicine, intellectual and cultural evolutions, showers: not things to be taken for granted. Between this novel and a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones, if you still try and tell me that you would rather live in Medieval Times, I'll be forced to armchair diagnose you as batshit and/or masochistic. And anyway, get off the internet! That's witchcraft right there, and so you are running a serious risk of getting burned to death on a pyre with your first-born speared to your chest. Awwww, isn't that so romantic? Bad as things can be nowadays, history is pretty embarrassing in comparison.

  • Michael
    2019-02-19 07:59

    I read this years ago, mostly on a commuter train between New Jersey and New York, and I'm convinced the other commuters--mostly men in suits--must have thought I was bonkers because I kept bursting out in laughter. There was one passage I remember re-reading several times, just to see if I could get through it WITHOUT laughing. Alas, no! They really must have thought I was nuts that day. Sure, there is a lot that is improbable and questionable in this book, especially in the set-up (guy gets hit in the head and is transported back in time??) but it gathers strength as it goes, ultimately becoming quite a darkly comedic gem.

  • Megan
    2019-03-16 11:08

    This is a paper I wrote for a class on this novel. As John Dalberg-Acton, an English historian, politician, and writer, once said “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This theme is illustrated by the character of Hank Morgan in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. Hank believes that he is the saving grace for the people of Camelot using capitalism as his means to set them free. However, can someone force freedom and a new ideology onto people, and was Hank really just trying to better himself and enhance his power? Following the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely, Twain shows through his satirical wit that a bloodless revolution is not possible through any change in ideology, especially when the change is to capitalism, which is seen as just another form of corruption and slavery.On his arrival to Camelot, Hank refers to the people as animals, such as calling them sheep or rabbits. “They were the quaintest and simplest and trustingest race; why, they were nothing but rabbits” (78). In this way he refers to them as weak minded, only capable of reproducing and becoming a bigger mass of uneducated people that, like sheep, need a leader. Hank is the leader he thinks they need. His ultimate goal is to lead the people in a bloodless revolution, which he intends to orchestrate through a capitalist society. After he gains the title of Sir Boss, his first official acts were starting a patent office and then factories. These factories included the Man factories, “a Factory where I’m going to turn groping and grubbing automata into men” (173)*. On the outside these could be seen as a form of people’s empowerment where Hank is educating the masses, turning them into men and leading them towards the light of the 19th century. However, the reality is just Hank showing off his power and knowledge, believing that he is much smarter than the people of Camelot and therefore can rule them easily. Even though Hank does have good intentions of leading the people through a revolution and educating them, it has always been said “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What these factories are really achieving is giving Hank more power. The factories are used to create technology that only Hank knows how to use and what they are used for. Capitalizing on their superstitions, Hank uses these technologies to sway people to follow him. Using dynamite and fireworks, he undermines Merlin and gains power by proving, through the technology, that he is a greater magician. He also builds a gun and kills countless knights to further prove that he is stronger and more powerful.“When you are going to do a miracle for an ignorant race, you want to get in every detail that will count; you want to make all the properties impressive to the public eye; you want to make matters comfortable for your head guest; then you can turn yourself loose and play your effects for all they are worth. I know the value of these things, for I know human nature” (235).Hank can easily be seen at these moments as a con man bluffing and using his wits to make a profit and gain followers. He uses their weaknesses to give himself more strength. Even in the end of the novel, Hank writes a proclamation claiming that he and the people of Camelot are now a government of and for the people, but then signs it from The Boss. His signing it The Boss instead of The People shows that he still believes that he is above the people and that they need to be ruled. They may have a better form of government but they still need someone like Hank to make all the important decisions for them. Even though in Hank’s mind he now sees the people as men, in his actions he still sees them as sheep. Hank uses the concept of capitalism in Camelot as a way to better himself by tricking the people into thinking that he is helping them. When asked what capitalism is, people most likely answer that it is a free market involved in free trade outside of government regulations. Capitalism is in fact is a monopolized ownership of the means of production and is a system of wage labor. Capitalism is just a sweet illusion of freedom when in fact it is just a clever form of enslavement. Using capitalism Hank changes the structure of those in power. He takes the knights and turns them into walking billboards for things such as soap, which in a means degrades their power and just makes them a cog in the capitalist’s machine. “Brother! -- to dirt like this?” (295). History is cyclical in nature. There is always someone in power and always someone who is oppressed; it is just that the means of oppression get sneakier using hope and the potential for growth in power as their allies. First in history there was the king and his serfs, then the slave master and his slaves, and now we see the capitalist and his worker.“The most of King Arthur’s British nation were slaves, pure and simple, and bore that name… and the rest were slaves in fact, but without the name; they imagined themselves men and freemen, and called themselves so” (79).Hank sees all the people in Camelot as slaves even though they don’t realize it. Just his title, Hank is The Boss, shows that he controls the workers, what they make, what they are taught, and their profit. He holds all the power in this capitalist situation. Even though Hank feels like he is doing the people of Camelot a favor, he is just performing a more secretive form of slavery. He is ultimately trying to force this new ideology of capitalism upon the masses trying to convince them of his bloodless revolution and with his scenes and lies they follow him.Hank’s bloodless revolution is eventually found to be impossible, showing again how history is cyclical. No revolution is victorious without bloodshed. The violence of capitalism, such as getting hit over the head in the workplace, is what initially what brought Hank to Camelot and it is also what destroys Camelot. “I was turning on my light one-candle power at a time, and meant to continue to do so” (99). Hank, throughout all of his schemes, was planning to turn on the lights to people in Camelot, making them brighter and showing them the light which only technology of the 19th century can bring. But it turns out differently than what he planned, “So I touched a button and set fifty electric sums aflame on the top of the precipice… We were enclosed in tree walls of dead men” (460). Everything Hank has worked for all his factories and technology are in the end used as weapons of mass destruction killing hundreds of knights. Hank blows up all his factories and finally flicks on the switch, turning on the lights, and in that moment with the lights blazing, fries the enemy knights on the electric fence. As Hank looks around at his forces at the end of the battle, he sees only 54 of them left. Hank was unable to change many people’s ideologies through his schemes and technology and his idea of capitalism is a failure. In the end it is Merlin, the very person whose power Hank stole, who sends Hank back to his time. This represents that the original ideology of Camelot is what wins the revolution and is allowed to start over after the slate is wiped clean with the destruction of Camelot. Hank’s capitalist ideas and oppression by labor didn’t work and maybe, ultimately, it can’t work. Hank tried to change the ideology of the nation of Camelot into one similar to where he came from; he used the idea of capitalism. His plan was to use these ideas to create a brighter society turning them from sheep to men and leading them in a bloodless revolution. What Hank seemed to forget was the fact that he was actually just leading the people into a more subtle form of slavery and one that is more corrupt and violent than what they had before. In the end it is found that a bloodless revolution through a change in ideology is not altogether possible, especially when the leader of the revolution wants more power than what is already given to him. With capitalism already considered a corrupt ideology and the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is easy to see why Hank’s plans don’t pan out in the end. People cannot be forced into changing what they believe no matter how enslaved they are seen from people on the outside. Update: received a 3.9 on this paper :)

  • Andrei Tamaş
    2019-03-06 13:56

    Bijuteria asta —care-i bijuterie din toate punctele de vedere!— are unul dintre cele mai nebunesti incipituri pe care mi-a fost dat sa le citesc vreodata. Pe scurt, in secolul al XIX-lea, intr-o uzina din SUA, unu' ii da cu ranga-n cap protagonistului, care se trezeste in secolul VI. Sa vezi trasnaie si nu alta! Primele doua capitole, "Cuvant lamuritor" (care tine loc de prefata) si "Camelot", ilustreaza intr-o maniera ironica raportul neasteptat dintre "nebunia mea" si "nebunia lumii", moravurile celor doua repere istorice, situate la treisprezece secole distanta, pricinuindu-i eroului un mare neajuns inca de la incept, cand un cavaler (nu un gentleman, in acceptiunea moderna, ci un cavaler in sens clasic, adica unu de-alde aia de-si spargeau scafaliile spre a-si arata "smecheria") il ia la rost pe motiv ca... ce motiv, dom'le? Pe-atunci n-aveai nevoie de motive. Daca te-ntalneam pe strada si nu erai supus al regelui Arthur, aveam datoria -fara macar sa te somez, in prealabil- sa te dobor de la armasar si sa te silesc sa-mi juri ca "in ziua de Rusalii" vei merge de buna voie la curtea regelui Arthur sa i te-nchini...Tam-nisam, ca sa dau numai unul din punctele forte ale intrigii, yankeul nostru este condamnat la spanzuratoare de catre "Cavalerii Mesei Rotunde". Ceea ce a observat el insa, in sala Mesei Rotunde, unde fusese adus ca "dovada" a "prazii" pe care cavalerul o obtinuse, este faptul ca, la intrunirea respectiva, fiecare cavaler isi istorisea o intamplare din viata lui, da' una' de-aia care-l ridica in slavi, ca, spre exemplu, momentu' ala cand casunase el doisprezece balauri care aruncau flacari pe nari si batuse, de unul singur, treizeci de cavaleri. Moravul se impune in opera si este generalizat. In acest sens, personajul-narator remarca, ulterior, ca "in fata oamenilor acelora nu era nevoie sa dovedesti nimic din ceea ce afirmai; era de ajuns sa afirmi si ei te credeau. Niciodata nu i-a dat prin gand cuiva sa puna la indoiala vreo afirmatie" si "doamne, ce nu fac pe lume educatia, influenta si obisnuinta! Ele au puterea de a face pe om sa creada orice". Oprindu-ma aici pentru o reflectie marginala, am meditat un strop, mai adanc, atunci cand am subliniat cea din urma fraza si -la urma urmei- cu totii suntem conditionati de mentalitatea si de societatea in care traim, drept fiind sa spunem ca unii mai mult decat altii raman impamanteniti in dogma comuna, "general valabila" si "incontestabila". In acest sens, o alta remarca a naratorului mi-a atras in mod deosebit atentia: "Oamenii aceia erau in stare sa savarseasca orice crima, in afara de marea crima de a se abate de la traditie". Desigur, aici traditia era inteleasca in sens feudal. Da' sa lasam asta, ca la urma urmei am facut o prezentare a intrigii, in loc sa punctez scurt si la obiect aspectul pe care l-am amintit. Asadar, condamnat la spanzuratoare fiind, bagat la zdup si fara speranta de scapare, eroului nostru ii incolteste, pe baza superstitiilor de secol VI, o idee strasnica! Desigur, aceasta idee a fost strans legata de cunoasterea marturiilor istorice, in sensul in care americanul nostru stia ca la 21 iulie 528 s-a produs o eclipsa de soare. Si, vezi doamne, trimite cuvant regelui Arthur ca, daca nu va fi crutat de la spanzuratoare, va stinge becu', folosindu-se de ale sale puteri vrajitoresti nestiute de nimeni. Astia tin sfat -"Bai! Ce sa facem?!"- si hotarasc sa-l spanzure chiar in ziua de 21 iulie. Eroul nostru isi ridica palmele cand primele semne ale eclipsei se intrezareau, iar multimea aia de oameni incepu sa boceasca amarnic, regele facand concesia de a ceda jumatate de regat in schmbul redobandirii luminii soarelui. Protagonistul refuza insa cuviincios si cere, in schimb, functia de prim-ministru (pe care o si primeste fara sovairea regelui). Na! Si sa tot vezi trasnai, ca telefonul, telegraful, dinamita, curentul electric sau trenul in secolul VI. Aspectele astea sunt mai mult pentru a decolora epoca in ceea ce priveste criteriul arhitectonic si pentru a evidentia adevaratele neregului, cele de ordin moral, adica: ochiul etic al unui om din secolul XIX in Anglia secolului VI. Si... Dumnezeule! Stilul colocvial al naratorului, cand tensionat, cand ironic ("Nu vezi ca ne-ar lua mai putin timp sa le ducem pe fiecare acasa decat iti ia tie sa-mi explici ca nu se poate?" si, raportat la conceptia feudala a bisericii care interzicea clericilor sa faca o baie: "Nu pretind ca i se puteau vedea fiorii si tremurul decat daca cineva s-ar fi apucat sa-l razaluiasca pentru a da jos jegul de pe el, iar mie nici prin gand nu-mi trecea, dar cum-necum, mi-am dat seama ca asa era si ca sub pojghita de jeg, groasca cat scoarta unei carti, el se cutremura si dardaia"), te face sa-i intuiesti parca vocea si sa ti-l imaginezi in fata ta tragand din pipa si povestindu-ti toata dandanaua asta. Un alt aspect asupra caruia Twain a insistat a fost limbajul epocii (adica un limbaj gen Ion Neculce sau Grigore Ureche), care face ca unele replici ale personajelor sa fie mai greu de inteles, dar care, totodata, te catapulteaza in vremea respectiva. Nu stiu pentru cei ce-au citit-o deja ce a reprezentat cartea, insa pentru mine a fost o adevarata declaratie de razboi impotriva formelor de suprimare din toate timpurile. Eu am viziunile mele socialiste si cu atat mai flamand am devorat-o, insa nu numai pentru mine biserica (daca nu are ghiarele taiate), Habsburgii, Bourbonii sau Hohenzollerni deopotriva au reprezentat, in echipa, cea mai criminala clica din istorie. Si nu, nu ma refer la varsarea propriu-zisa de sange, ca pe aia am putea s-o trecem cu vederea, ci, din ratiuni de filosofie istorica, au ucis acel atat de falnic avant uman care-si avea samburele in Roma. *Si acum mi-a venit in cap replica aia din "Gladiatorul"... "There´s once a dream that was Rome. Shall be realized."... Republica...*DESPRE BISERICA: "Datorita puterii ce o au ideile mostenite, oamenii aceia nu-si puteau inchipui altceva demn de respect decat spita aleasca si nobletea. Aici se vede mana infioratoarei puteri care este biserica romano-catolica. Asa, la iuteala, in doua-trei secole, prefacuse o natiune de oameni intr-o adunatura de viermi. Inainte de suprematia bisericii in lume, oamenii fusesera oameni intregi si isi tinusera capul sus; avusesera mandrie, judecata si independenta, iar rangul si insemnatatea se dobandeau mai cu seama prin fapte, si nu datoria nasterii. Apoi a rasarit biserica, urmarind un manunchi de interese egoiste si ea s-a aratat iscusita si agera, cunoscand multe chipuri de a scoate sapte piei de pe un om sau de pe un popor. Ea a nascocit monarhia de drept divin, intarind-o si proptind-o de jur imprejur cu ierarhia fericirilor hazardite celor alesi, smulgand virtutile de la locul lor si facandu-le sa slujeasca un scop nevrednic. Ea a predicat -dar mereu numai oamenilor de rand- umilinta, supunerea fata de mai marii lor, frumusetea jertfei; ea a predicat oamenilor de rand sa inghita cu blandete insultele; si tot lor, numai lor, rabdarea si saracia duhului si neimpotrivirea in fata impilarii; si tot biserica a introdus rangurile ereditare si aristocratiile si a invatat toate popoarele de pe fata pamantului sa se plece in fata lor si sa le venereze." "Fiind convins ca orice biserica de stat este o crima de stat, un tarc pentru sclavii statului, nu aveam nicio remuscare, ba eram gata sa atac biserica in orice fel si cu orice arma care putea izbi cu tarie".DESPRE MONARHIA EREDITARA DE DREPT DIVIN, DESPRE CLASELE PRIVILEGIATE SI DESPRE ROBIE:"Majoritatea natiunii britanice a regelui Arthur era alcatuita din sclavi, care purtau acest nume si aveau o zgarda de fier la gat. Adevarul e ca natiunea, in intregul ei, se afla pe lume cu un singur scop: sa se prosterne inaintea regelui, a bisericii si a nobilimii; SA MOARA DE FOAME PENTRU CA EI SA FIE GHIFTUITI; SA MUNCEASCA PENTRU CA EI SA POATA ZBURDA; SA SOARBA PANA LA FUND CUPA AMARACIUNII PENTRU CA EI SA POATA FI FERICITI; SA UMBLE GOI PENTRU CA EI SA POATA PURTA MATASURI SI BIJUTERII; SA PLATEASCA BIRURI PENTRU CA EI SA FIE NEBIRNICI; SA SE OBISNUIASCA O VIATA INTREAGA CU VORBELE SI ATITUDINILE INJOSITOARE, PENTRU CA EI SA POATA PASI CU SEMETIE SI SA SE CREADA ZEII LUMII. Si pentru toate astea nu primeau alte multumiri decat lovituri si dispret, si erau atat de saraci cu duhul incat si aceasta atentie o luau drept cinste".Regele si yankeul dorind sa cunoasca viata poporului:"-Acum, maria ta, inchipuieste-ti ca suntem la usa omului care locuieste in coliba aceea si ca ne vede familia lui. Hai, arata-mi cu o sa i te adresezi capului familiei!Fara voie, regele isi indrepta si intepenii umerii, ca o statuie, si zise cu o glariala asprime:-Ma, tarane, ai ada-mi un scaun si ospateaza-ma din mancarurile pe care le ai.-Vai, maria ta! Nu-i bine deloc!-Dar unde-i greseala? -Oamenii astia nu-si zic unul altuia tarani. -Adevarat?-Numai cei de deasupra lor le zic tarani.-Atunci sa-i zic altminterea: ei, ma robule!"Replica de sclav: "Ce izbanda ca am fost traitori si nu am pierit! Mai mult decat atat, ce-am fi putut cere?"Replica de "om liber": "Nimeni nu tagaduieste, dara legea taie si spanzura precum pofteste si face asa ca ceea ce iaste al lordului este al lordului, iar ceea ce iaste al meu, tot a lordului iaste"."...comunitatea aceasta impilata isi isi intorsese privirile si isi ridicase mainile-i nemiloase impotriva propriei ei clase, iar asta spre folosul impilatorilor comuni"."Regii si regatele erau tot atat de numeroase in Britania, precum fusesera in Palestina, in timpul lui Iosua, cand oamenii erau nevoiti sa doarma cu genunchii la gura pentru ca nu se puteau intinde fara a avea pasaport"."Dar, intrucat orice om este pieritor si orice ar face tot trebuie sa moara, lasandu-si stapanirea in mainile unui mostenitor imperfect, un despotism nu numai ca e o forma rea de guvernare, ci e chiar cea mai rea forma posibila". "... o clasa privilegiata, o aristocratie, nu-i nimic altceva decat o banda de proprietari de sclavi sub un alt nume".Finalul, pe care eu il numesc patetic, in sens peiorativ, nu a facut altceva decat sa accentueze ideile pe care opera le-a expus. De aceea, "taierea" cercului care ar fi trebuit sa formeze opera (incipit-final), isi pierde conturul inainte ca rolul compasului sa se fi incheiat, ceea ce denota ca esuarea protagonisului de a instaura republica nu are nicio relevanta: acest lucru s-a intamplat in secolul al VI-lea. Scopul autorului a fost mai degraba acela de a atrage atentia in mod critic asupra situatiei politice din secolul XIX, cand, exceptand Statele Unite, niciunde nu se putea vorbi de vreo republica acatarii. Andrei Tamas, 31 mai 2016

  • Roy Lotz
    2019-02-25 06:59

    I managed to be quite disappointed in this book. Yes, some parts are clever and funny, especially near the beginning; but by midway the joke had gone stale, and by the end I was elated to be done with it. The main problem, for me, was that Twain’s satire is almost wholly directed at the mythologized world of King Arthur. Twain rips apart this world readily enough, but I could not see the purpose in his project. Why bother to write a whole book mocking a time that never existed? I suppose the answer lay in Sir Walter Scott’s immense popularity in Twain’s day. Indeed, it says on Wikipedia that Twain held Scott responsible for the Civil War, since Scott filled up the heads of southerners with romance and battles. To cut through all these notions of chivalry and honor, Twain ventures to show how superior the modern world is to the world of Scott’s knightly tales. One yankee engineer is enough to subjugate the entire world of King Arthur’s Court. The people are servile and superstitious, the church is nefarious and corrupt, the wizards are foolish frauds, the knights are savage morons, the aristocrats are privileged buffoons—and meanwhile Twain’s narrator, Hank Morgan, is clever, resourceful, and generally goodhearted. Twain finds time to criticize the culture, religion, economy, political system, and even the manners of King Arthur's England. Probably I would have found it all a great deal funnier if I had read Scott; as it was, I found it merely tedious, and self-congratulatory on Twain's part.Some people have suggested that Twain’s characterization of Hank Morgan is ironic. Perhaps we are meant to see through Hank’s schemes and realize that he, too, is just as muddle-headed as the medieval people he so constantly criticizes. But I do not see any evidence for this view. Hank is always successful; he pulls off his plots without a hitch; he anticipates every difficulty; he finds his way out of every dilemma. He is moral, too; he works to educate the peasants and to create a democracy. In sum, he is the good guy of the story—intelligent, ethical, and successful. It seemed to me that he is only meant to demonstrate the superiority of nineteenth century culture, not its shortcomings.Aside from Twain’s satirical purpose, which did not interest me, the story struck me as rather slapdash. The pacing was erratic, and the plot episodic. The characterizations were mostly flat and exaggerated. When Twain attempted pathos, such as when a family of sick peasants die before the narrator’s eyes, it comes across as false and heavy-handed. Similarly, the relationship between Hank and Sandy felt rushed and pointless, with Hank’s numerous professions of love only tiresome. Thankfully, the end picks up a little, with a battle scene that, as many have noted, is strangely reminiscent of World War I. Other than that, and a few other well-done scenes, I really could not enjoy this book.

  • Natalie
    2019-03-06 10:04

    Hank, a Yankee from Early America, has found himself in the sixth century. He's now a pupil of King Arthur, a member for Britain, and he's challenged that time periods most magical and dangerous man--Merlin. However, with his superior knowledge and the sciences from his world he is easily able to out stage and out smart not only Merlin, and all other challengers, but the Kingdom itself. He starts small, wanting to add soap and bathing into the equation for cleaner and more sanitary persons. He moves to advancing the sixth century into the power and magic of a Republic, hoping to take the country without blood and making all people free and equal. Along his adventures he finds how simple minded and superstitious these people are and plays to their weaknesses. If only they would listen to his amazing superiority and high intellect then they could find the joy and peace that he has imagined for them.I found this book a quite difficult read. For someone who loves the King Arthur tales and the medieval time period this read was a horrible twist of the life-style and ways of a people. It made out Merlin, King Arthur, Lancelot, and all the people involved as mere simpletons that cared not for the world, the going-on's around them and in particular made them appear illogical and self-oppressed. "The Boss", as Hank became known and titled, thought that only his way and ideas could be right and therefore didn't care to listen to others opinions or let things stay the way they were with others or the kingdom. The book was also boring at times, adding to my difficulty in getting through it as I particularly did not like the main character as I found him rude, close-minded, and particularly belittling of others. Mark Twain definitely knows how to skew a perspective, a classic story, and get a point across.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-02-20 09:00

    One of the many good things about lying in order to avoid junior high school is that it allows time to read good books. Having done the old "thermometer to the light bulb" trick, I spent a very productive couple of days home in bed reading, among other things, Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.My parents weren't entirely stupid. My frequent illnesses had to be demonstrated by coughing, dripping, abnormal temperature and the like. Since they were still suspicious, it was a rule that I had to stay in bed when ill. This meant no television, no telephone, no sunny days in the backyard with the dog. I don't think they intended to promote reading by this stricture, but it certainly worked that way.

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-03-09 11:56

    The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, the 1889 satire by Mark Twain believed to be the first "time travel" novel ever written. Episodic in nature, delightful in fits and starts but long on text and quite short on character, there's a wonderful book in here if you're a fan of Twain's irreverence and patient enough to wait for it.The story gets off to a marvelous start with a tourist at Warwick Castle meeting a man from Hartford, a "Yankee of Yankees" named Hank Morgan. For a Yankee, he seems to know a lot about armor and the old country. Bantering over hot scotch whiskey at their hotel, the Yankee reveals that his employment at an arms factory taught him how to make everything from cannons to engines, until one day, a blow to a head transported him to the 6th century, to the reign of King Arthur. The Yankee retires for the evening and leaves with his fellow traveler a manuscript which documents his experiences with the Knights of the Round Table. Rousted from his resting place under an oak tree, the Yankee is taken captive by "Sir Kay the Seneschal" and marched to Camelot, which he realizes is not a lunatic asylum but the realm of King Arthur, Queen Guenever and Sir Launcelot of the Lake and other big wigs.Set to be burned at the stake, the Yankee befriends the squire Amyas le Poulet, who he names "Clarence", a boy whose youthful contempt for authority makes him a faithful sidekick. The Yankee uses his knowledge of astronomy to threaten his captors with doom and right on schedule, a solar eclipse the next day spares his life. This puts the Yankee in contempt of Merlin, "the mighty magician and liar". With the court awaiting another miracle, the Yankee uses Clarence to fill Merlin's tower with blasting powder and divines an explosion which topples the building.The Yankee earns himself office as King Arthur's prime minister and becomes affectionately known as "The Boss". Like Robinson Crusoe, he begins to remake his environment to one befitting a 19th century gentleman. Over the next four years, he opens a patent office, starts a school system and publishes a newspaper. He builds factories and gathers the brightest young minds in the land to apprentice in new industries. He begins to chip away at the clergy by restricting religious teaching to the churches. The gullibility of people in the 6th century has both its benefits and its liabilities for the Yankee, as well as constant bemusement. "There was never such a country for wandering liars; and they were of both sexes. Hardly a month went by without one of these tramps arriving; and generally loaded with a tale about some princess or other wanting help to get her out of some faraway castle where she was held in captivity by a lawless scoundrel, usually a giant."One such wandering liar arrives in King Arthur's court with the tale of her mistress and forty-four other beautiful girls held captive in a castle by three brothers, each with four arms and one eye, the eye as big as a fruit ("Sort of fruit not mentioned; their usual slovenliness in statistics.") Compelled to leave Camelot to mount an adventure, the Yankee dons full armor and rides into the countrywide with the girl, Demoiselle Alisande a la Carteloise, who he names "Sandy". Many misadventures and misunderstandings ensue.The idea for A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court came to Twain during the book tour to promote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in December 1884. At a bookstore in Rochester, New York, novelist George Washington Cable suggested to Twain that Sir Thomas Malory's epic La Morte de Arthur might make good reading material for the trip. Twain began reading it and jotted the following note in his journal:"Dreamt of being a knight errant in armor in the middle ages. Have the notions & habits of thought of the present day mixed with the necessities of that. No pockets in the armor. No way to manage certain requirements of nature. Can't scratch. Cold in the head--can't blow--can't get a handkerchief, can't use iron sleeve."One of the pleasures of reading this novel of time travel is its timelessness. The legend of Camelot might have been killed by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but the popularity of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones has made this milieu as ripe for the razzing as ever. Twain's irreverent tone seems to have inspired Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits or at least proved a case artistic coincidence, with the Robin Hood sequence in that comedy demonstrating the same contempt for medieval legends as Twain does. Bloodshed, not chivalry, is their primary contribution to history.Speaking of violence, this novel is exceedingly so, though not in a graphic way. Twain pinned blame of the Civil War on Sir Walter Scott and Ivanhoe, which he felt installed a bogus sense of rank, caste and entitlement on landholders the antebellum South -- which like Camelot, also practiced slavery -- and rather than use time travel as romantic tourism, Twain uses it to disembowel that system for all its worth. Much as he would in Huckleberry Finn, Twain jumps all over charlatanism and religious fanaticism as well.Several chapters here are merely Twain the humorist speaking his mind on government, religion, law & order without even attempting to disguise this in a story. Several of the adventures in the last half of the novel get a little long in the tooth and compared to his masterworks, I was disappointed how little room Twain made for other characters here. The Yankee's two friends Clarence and Sandy, and the cast of Camelot, are really only mentioned in passing. What rises to the surface is the protagonist and his colorful ranting.This 2005 edition includes dozens of delightful illustrations by Dan Beard which contribute to the considerable whimsy of the story and break up a lot of the text, which as I mentioned, rambled on a bit too long for my taste. How much you enjoy the novel might come down to how much of Mark Twain's irreverence your metabolism can tolerate and how much story and character you need. For me, it was a very good novel, but not a great one.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-08 08:19

    A book about going to a backwards place, dominated by an ignorant faith and blowing a lot of stuff up in the name of freedom. If you can be non-cynical enough, you might be able to find sympathy for our American freedom-fighters in Iraq by reading of Hank's well-meaning attempt at a socio-political overhaul. I won't tell you how it ends, but your world won't be too rocked. This book is really amazing to read from our contemporary perspective. Here's a cusp-industrial mind writing on the dark ages. It's sort of like we get to time-travel twice. Somehow though, Twain manages to seem more than ahead of the dark ages, more than ahead of his own time, he seems ahead of our time. His book, as it sees Arthurian England ratchet awkwardly up to the 19th Century brings to light the same issues we are dealing with today. The benefits versus the costs of technology, the tenaciousness of class lines and the ignorance produced by religious faith. It's very much worth the time today to read a great American's thinking on these issues and be reminded that though ideals are necessary for advancement, they must put humanity first or be made monstrous.Also, look out for some very, very dry humor. I know I didn't pick up all of it, but what I did was a treat. Finally, I recommend getting an edition that includes the original illustrations - they're beautiful and funny.

  • Sesana
    2019-02-22 10:18

    A late-19th century American travels back in time to Arthurian England. This, of course, not really Arthurian England, or even medieval England, but a sort of mythical Dark Age with Arthurian elements. Twain had quite a bit to say about the past that his accidental time traveler finds himself in. Though that relates at least as much, if not more so, to his present day than it did to the Middle Ages. It can be funny, even darkly so, at times.

  • Franklin Peach
    2019-02-21 09:07

    I Read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain to my kids (7-9). Having never read this classic before I expected it to be a little bit more 'kid oriented' than it was. There were many times when my 7 and 9 year-olds struggled to make it through the book.Yankee had so many facets to it that it is hard to pin down. At times it is laugh out loud funny, or highly ironic and other times the humor is quite dark. At still other times it is down right preachy, especially against Medieval Monarchy and the Catholic church. (be sure to be aware of this, I had to overcome some of Twain's biases against the Catholic Church) Sometimes it goes into great detail about topics that 7 and 9 year olds really would not care less about, There was a whole chapter of our Hero explaining about inflation and the value of money. Several times I had to get out the dictionary myself because I could not explain what the author was saying to my children without it.Kids will surprise you though. My 7 year-old, had about had it with Yankee, and although I wanted to push through the book, I am convinced that reading needs to be something they want to do. So I asked her if she wanted to finish the book, or to move on to our next one. I expected her to say "Let's read a different book, dad" and I was fully prepared to do it. However, she instead declared her intent to stick it out and we sat down to read the next chapter which was very engrossing and humorous to her and her brother, I knew we would be able to finish it after that.I am very glad we did finish it and I know my kids are too. We really enjoyed watching 'The Boss' (i.e. The Yankee) and King Author roam about the country incognito and how the King reacts to being sold into slavery, and their amazing and improbable rescue. The ending has absolutely stunning climax pitting 6th century England against the marvels of the The Boss' nineteenth century inventions. that I would have never guessed and my son loved it.As we read the book, it was interesting to see how easy a time The Boss had in the 6th Century and I made it a point several times to ask the children why they thought that was. The answer comes dripping out of the pages: the Boss can THINK, no one else there can. This type of sentiment about the people of 6th century England was a constant theme, like this quote in which The Boss refers to the Knights of the Round Table: There did not seem to be brains enough in the entire nursery, so to speak, to bait a fish-hook with; but you didn't seem to mind that, after a little, because you soon saw that brains were not needed in a society like that, and indeed would have marred it, hindered it, spoiled its symmetry -- perhaps rendered its existence impossible.I would highly recommend this book for those 9 and up (although you might be safer at 11) who are studying history, government or sociology or just want a good read. There is a wealth of commentary in Yankee on each subject and it would be a fun way to explore ideas about each and about human nature itself.

  • Jr Bacdayan
    2019-02-22 07:06

    Tom “Donald Trump” Sawyer meets Don Quixote.

  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    2019-03-16 10:16

    Ok, so Mark Twain. This is the only one I've read, once way back when and just now. MT/SLC - he's not really part of the curriculum or general literary zeitgeist in Canada. So I don't really know much about him or about that Huckleberry boy and the other one, Tom. I'm likely talking out of my hat when I say, if you liked them you've just got to like this one. Although maybe this is more directly scathing and satirical? Connecticut Yankee is an eviscerating take-down of the entire British social structure, y'know, the one that the U.S. revolted (or as Twain would say "revoluted") against. On top of that, it's a castigation of the RC Church and its role in the oppressions of, at the time he was writing, the past 1800+ years. And most of all, it's an abolitionist tale. Call 'em serfs, call 'em slaves (as Twain does), same difference. This is a plea for egalitarianism and humanism.At the same time, "The Boss" - as the prototypical late-19th century entrepreneur and manufacturing baron -- is flawed and gently mocked for his belief that capitalism and technology will win the day. I don't know how much mockery would have been recognized at the time of publication, but from 100+ years later, we can clearly see the hand of a clear-eyed and prescient satirist at work in the immense and disproportional carnage wreaked by the improved technology of warfare, the raping and pillaging of natural resources and resulting destruction of the environment of the Industrial Age, the rabid commercialism that leads to the trading of one type of slavery for another.Twain does not give two hoots for historical accuracy here, nor for any of the conventions by which literary time travel is supposed to "work." He doesn't care if this makes any logical sense, and to make sure we understand that, he picks, first of all, the already fictional 6th-Century King Arthur and his Knights as the time to travel back to. He then thinks nothing of weaving in references to King Henry VIII and the Tower of London and a bunch of other anachronistic details that defy the historical record and the laws of physics. That is part of the delight of this book - it's a romp.His brush is so broad he takes the piss of everyone and everything on that little island of Britain from about 500 to 1850 A.D.This perhaps goes without saying, because no satire is fully effective without it, but his righteous anger is not just expressed through ridiculousness and absurdity -- there are scenes here that are heartbreaking and tragic, and Twain skilfully reins in his pen to paint these with the pathos (albeit romanticized and sentimentalized) they require to keep our eyes focused on the fact that there are real people who suffer at the hands of others and institutions who enslave them.Powerful reading (and a bit of a brain-twist, coming right after Wolf Hall, which I'm off to review in just a moment.

  • Garythe Bookworm
    2019-03-18 12:57

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is not recommended. I have no idea who its target audience was. Mark Twain was wildly popular in Great Britain when it was published in the late Nineteenth Century, but the English found little to celebrate here...with good reason. His heavy-handed treatment of the Arthurian legend is a misguided effort to contrast American ingenuity and Protestant sectarianism with British traditions in matters relating to governance, social class and state-sanctioned religion. Contemporary critics were quick to point out that movements toward republicanism and religious freedom had done little to ameliorate the plight of the typical factory worker on either side of the Atlantic. I have been a lifelong reader of Twain's fiction. I devoured The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper as a boy, and studied The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I consider to be The Great American Novel, The Tragedy of Puddinghead Wilson and Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings as a college student. I have always considered him to be the most significant voice of the Nineteenth Century in American literature. Reading this made me sad. I'm guessing that he wanted to cash-in on the popularity of books by Jules Verne and other writers of science fiction. I can accept that a favorite author might prositute himself, but I can't accept that he would squander his talent to produce such a mean-spirited, muddled tale.

  • East Bay J
    2019-02-21 08:12

    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 Court but, ultimately, found myself disappointed.The concept of the book, that a resident of 1860’s America suddenly finds himself transported to sixth century England in the court of King Arthur, is pretty good. However, this book is just so long. The writing is not as sharp as in other Twain works. It’s like Natural Born Killers, where Oliver Stone BASHES you over the head with his point over and over until you really want to strangle him. Y’know, “I GET IT! STOP IT!”I guess I see this book as Twain’s commentary on his America. Out of curiosity, I did a fair amount of research into this book and it’s interesting it caused so much controversy at the time it was published. The English were pissed and I’m not talking loaded. I guess there is a lot of debate over “what it all means” and it’s understandable. The controversy is also at least as interesting as this book. So there you go.The one great thing is the idea that the royal family be replaced with royal cats. That is a seriously good idea! Oh, man, that would be phenomenal.

  • Oliviu Craznic
    2019-03-13 05:57

    „Un yankeu la curtea regelui Arthur (MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1889; stilul funcțional: beletristic; curentul literar: transcendentalism [NOTE, 3]; genul literar: epic; specia literară: roman fantastic; subspecia literară: fantastic histrionic [industrialo-medieval]). Un inginer din Connecticut suferă o lovitură la cap, lovitură care îl transportă instantaneu în Anglia medievală, la curtea legendarului rege Arthur, unde cunoștințele sale tehnice avansate îl ajută să capete reputația de „mare vrăjitor”, spre invidia și disperarea faimosului Merlin. Cu totul surprinzător, finalul poveștii este serios, brutal și întunecat, răsturnând efectiv laitmotivele operei: tehnologia modernă nu îi poate salva pe protagonist și pe Arthur din ghearele sorții sumbre, șarlatania și incompetența lui Merlin ascund magie veritabilă, iar satirizatul Ev Mediu își recapătă dimensiunea romantică, atât de drastic combătută până atunci. Romanul (apreciat, printre alții, de savantul Carl Sagan) a fost etichetat, deseori, drept aparținând speciei literare tematice derivate a științifico-fantasticului, însă, în fapt, nu se încadrează în sfera acesteia: fără a mai lua în considerare lumea arthuriană (tipic fantastică), în care este transpus eroul, lectura atentă relevă natura suprafirească a călătoriei în timp narate („transmigraţia sufletelor”, „transmutaţia epocilor şi a trupurilor”) precum şi a abilităţilor demonstrate de vrăjitorul Merlin în momentul deznodământului. Dintre numeroasele adaptări pentru marile sau pentru micile ecrane, amintim versiunile în care „Regele Arthur” este interpretat de: Cedric Hardwicke (1949), Boris Karloff (1952, 1955), Peter Cook (1988), Michael York (1998).[3] Ca și Dickens, Twain este privit, în general, drept un exponent al realismului și, tot ca și în cazul lui Dickens, ar fi, fără îndoială, straniu să încadrăm Un yankeu la curtea regelui Arthur în sfera curentului respectiv. Din fericire, ne vine în ajutor, de data aceasta, critica literară și, în mod special, academicianul Dr. Howard G. Baetzhold, specialist de renume național în viața și opera lui Mark Twain, care, în monumentala The Routledge Encyclopedia of Mark Twain (ed. J.R. LeMaster, J.D. Wilson) menționează opera și ideile lui Thomas Carlyle (a cărui influență majoră asupra curentului transcendentalist – și, interesant! asupra lui Dickens – este universal recunoscută) drept importante surse de inspirație pentru Yankeu (și pentru alte opere ale lui Twain, de altfel). Corelând această mențiune cu diverse alte aspecte istorice (de pildă, cu faptul că Twain îl cunoștea și îl aprecia pe Ralph Waldo Emerson – figură proeminentă a transcendentalismului –, după cum demonstrează, în aceeași Routledge, biograful Everett Emerson), precum și, bineînțeles, cu elementele caracteristice Yankeului „per se”, încadrarea acestuia în curentul literar transcendentalist apare drept rezonabilă.”O. CRÂZNIC, Fantasticul histrionic, în revista culturală EgoPHobiaCitiți mai mult aici:

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-03-02 13:54

    A classic that deserves to be. I loved it when young and still think it's great. If you haven't read this I'd recommend that you find it. It's great.**********The above was my earlier minimalist review of the novel in question. I'd like to elaborate a bit. At the time Twain wrote this the idea of time travel was unquestionably not cliche. Twin's picture of the "competent every-man American" dropped into the midst on King Arthur's court is by turns comic and tragic. Our hero (The Boss)seems to land on his feet quite well once he comes to the conclusion he's actually "In the past" and not some local insane asylum. his general knowledge of everything from historical facts to mechanical principals serves him well though the people sometimes surprise him a bit.As noted above in my more abbreviated remarks a classic that's not to be missed.Enjoy.

  • Sue K H
    2019-03-11 11:14

    3.5 stars. I liked this, but the satire but it got old at times. For a book this long, I needed characters to care about, but everyone was an everyman.

  • Amaranta
    2019-02-26 12:17

    Un Twain molto diverso rispetto alle "Avventure di Huckleberry Finn" e " il diario di Adamo ed Eva" che ho letto. Un romanzo sicuramente innovativo per l'epoca, uno dei primi a raccontare di un viaggio nel tempo, ma pur avvertendo la vena umoristica sua tipica, non sento lo slancio brillante degli altri romanzi. Rimane comunque una lettura piacevole e spensierata anche se con una fine amara.

  • Ruth Hinckley
    2019-02-22 14:11

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a train wreck of a novel that, if written today, would never have seen print. While notable for its innovation during its time and its hundred thousand imitators, the narrative is rambling, one-sided and frustrating.The book begins well enough, with a nineteenth century factory boss being transported into the past, where his knowledge of obscure trivia and "modern" science saves his life and earns him a position as a wizard. King Arthur and his court are described as "innocent savages", which the main character (whose name is mentioned not more than twice in the book) starts out trying to civilize. The nobility, of course, are resistant to these changes, and so our protagonist sets about to undermine and unseat them.From here it rumbles along with little in the way of character development, and 19th century technology developed whole cloth by a secret society of educated peasants. The narrative is interspersed with lengthy excerpts out of even more antiquated volumes - whose point or purpose is largely left unexplained - and lengthy jaunts into the countryside where every character who shows a bit of spirit is recruited into the secret technology schools, all under the nose of the oblivious king.There is very little which actually poses a challenge to our hero, which makes the reader yearn for something to backfire on him. Eventually it does - through no fault of his own, of course - but the lessons he and Arthur learn in this episode are squandered as the ending is rushed to a conclusion, with the downfall of our hero orchestrated by the previously impotent but much-maligned Established Church.At the end, there are questions left unanswered and foreshadowed promises left unfulfilled, with logical jumps and temporal leaps which confuse and frustrate. It almost seems to change voice in the middle, and more than once. Even as a satire it fails to satisfy, and a comedy it is most certainly not. To anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with the story, I recommend choosing one of its many imitators and enjoying yourself for an hour or a day with it. Your time will be better spent.

  • Orsodimondo
    2019-03-16 11:58

    Divino. Il sogno e l'incubo di tutti quanti. Mio sicuramente.

  • Richard
    2019-02-25 14:09

    In the 1966 edition of "Major Writers of America", Henry Nash Smith wrote a thoughtful general introduction to the section on Mark Twain. Among the work he discussed was "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court". While Smith did not attempt an in-depth analysis of the book he made a number of points which contextualize the novel and which I personally found quite interesting and useful in exploring and evaluating the book. Evidently Twain intended the novel to be “a burlesque of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur” and in the early chapters one can certain see evidence for this. But it clearly developed into an attempt by “a vernacular hero . . . launched upon the magnificent adventure of transforming a sty of filth and poverty and superstition and tyranny into its polar opposite—an enlightened republic where industrialization I will provide the material basis for comfort and general happiness.”Hank Morgan fails utterly, as the Established church supports the monarchy and class system of the status quo.The hero is surprised by this result and Smith goes on to make a very interesting extrapolation of this which I will quote at some length.“He [Hank Morgan] is surprised by this outcome, and we must imagine that the author was to some extent surprised also. Mark Twain’s career had been sustained by a basic confidence in the sanity, health, and sturdiness of the mass of mankind. He had also assumed that technology was the peculiar possession of the common people as contrasted with the upper classes. Thus democracy and progress—especially the general enlightenment of mankind as a result of industrialization—had seemed o him so closely related that one could not be imagined without the other. But in the course of writing 'A Connecticut Yankee' he had become aware that his assumptions might not be valid. . . . his loss of faith both in the soundness of the common people and in the benign effects of technology is unmistakable.”If Smith is correct, then this novel represents a significant move to Twain's deeply bitter and pessimistic attitude in his later work. We do see signs of it in "Huckleberry Finn". There is the violent attack on Christianity from the gullible stupidity of the camp meetings to the hypocrisy of the church-going Grangerfords who keep their guns near them during the service. Then there is the speech of Col. Sherburn who faces down the mob with the words: “I know you clear through, I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North, so I know the average all around. The average man’s a coward.”By the time we get to “What Is Man?” (1906) Twain had come to the conclusion that humans are simply complicated automatons. "The Mysterious Stranger" which was not finalized by Twain when he died is probably the darkest work of fiction he wrote. So how does "A Connecticut Yankee" work as a novel. I think it has moments of power—particularly the journey of Hank and Arthur—but as a whole it fails. There is a great deal of what is, in effect, sermonizing. Twain “tells” rather than “shows.” The hero is far too sure of himself and his values and we never see anyone engaging in the great dramas of conscience that we see in "Huckleberry Finn". Of course Twain’s picture of The Middle Ages is absurd and bears little resemblance to the reality. One can take the view that this isn’t important in that the purpose of the book is to show that the social structures of all ages are inherently oriented to supporting a privileged and parasitic upper class. But I don’t think that Twain anywhere in this book comes close to being as effective in developing this message as he had been in "Huckleberry Finn". The characters lack depth and I quickly lost interest in them and this includes the narrator. In the end I think this novel is a curiosity that throws light on Twain but it is not a major work.__________________