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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (World's Classics)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  60,025 ratings  ·  1,559 reviews
When A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court was published in 1889, Mark Twain was undergoing a series of personal and professional crises. In his Introduction, M. Thomas Inge shows how what began as a literary burlesque of British chivalry and culture developed to tragedy and into a novel that remains a major literary and cultural text for generations of new readers. ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1889)
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Kara
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.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
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 bu ...more
Jim
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 liv ...more
Lyn
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain is a 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
...more
Megan
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 tryi
...more
Joe Valdez
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 meetin
...more
Erik Graff
Apr 15, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
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 ru
...more
Sesana
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.
Jennifer (aka EM)
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
...more
Franklin Peach
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 Medie
...more
Natalie
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 ...more
Sarah
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 age ...more
Gary  the Bookworm
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 ...more
East Bay J
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.
...more
Casey
I head seen and heard little tidbits about 'Connecticut Yankee...' over the past several years. It is one of Twain's most well known novels, after Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn, but I've mostly caught references to the story in parodies featuring Bugs Bunny or Martin Lawrence. That is to say that the time travel to the Middle Ages gag has been overutilized of late. However, the book is a commentary on the ways of modern life, as much as it is a damning critique of powerlessness of 6th Century peasants.

I
...more
David
If this was more successful, if this was the Great American Novel, I wonder how different the subsequent 120 years would have been. Hank Morgan, the Connecticut Yankee, learns that it is at our peril that we crash into unfamiliar societies and order them along our own lines…

Bits I liked:

Cute:
"This was an airy slim boy in shrimp-colored tights that made him look like a forked carrot; ... (he) informed me that he was a page.
'Go 'long,' I said; 'you ain't more than a paragraph.'"

Mark Twain wades in
...more
Stela
I have to say I browsed the final chapters - even if I understand the message, the book seemed to me longish and somehow boring, too long for a parody, anyway, and too many themes not so developed at all - politics, society, even linguistics and I didn't like the choice of the historical period, why King Arthur, anyway? Maybe because his figure is half historical half mythological and therefore you can put him in (almost) any historical context you want, but he is also a symbol and I wish he rem ...more
Julie
I was too young when I read this...5th grade. Did not get the nuances as much as I might have if I read it later. I was forced to read this and it still makes me cringe when I hear the title.

Get over it, right? Someday maybe.
Ruth Hinckley
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 cour
...more
Wendy
It would have been nice if the back had mentioned this being a satire of Arthurian stories.... Of course, I should've done my research ahead of time.

But I still would've hated it. It was the ending that did it, really--I was very much enjoying myself until it all went boom.

========

EDIT: FOUR YEARS LATER

I am here to officially eat my words. I don't know what I was thinking, criticizing the great Mark Twain. I should have known better.

I originally gave this book one star, but I was very, very wron
...more
Suzanne Vrieze
My favorite passage of the book:

I urged that kings were dangerous. He said, then have cats. He was sure that a royal family of cats would answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never know it, they would be wholly inexpensive, finally, they would have as sound a divine right
...more
Ken Doggett
I don't know what I can say about Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain that hasn't been said before. I consider him to be the finest American writer, and one who helped to change the conception of how literature should be written and brought it into the modern era. "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" was written in 1889, and isn't so much a time-travel story as a dream sequence. It's an "as told to" by a character who gets hit on the head and dreams that he is back in a starkly violent and misera ...more
Book Concierge
Audio book performed by William Defris

Hank Morgan is an engineer and machinist in 1879 Connecticut. After a blow to the head that knocks him unconscious, he awakens beneath a tree and discovers he has been transported back some thirteen centuries to King Arthur’s England, A.D. 528. This is the story of his adventures and misadventures in that bygone era.

Satire is not my favorite genre, but I enjoyed parts of this satire immensely. Twain gave us images that made me laugh aloud – e.g. the knights
...more
Marts  (Thinker)
So Twain's 'A Connecticut Yankee...' is all about an American who gets knocked on the head in a fight ending up in King Arthur's England. So now he's in Camelot and being an engineer is able to come up with varying methods of developing everything, his knowledge also always keeps him just a few steps away from death...

Quite an interesting tale for any classics lover!!
Iblena
Año 1879. Hank Malone, trabaja como supervisor un una fábrica de armas en Connecticut. Luego de recibir un golpe en la cabeza despierta en la Inglaterra medieval, pero no en cualquier lugar de la campiña inglesa sino en el mítico Calemot del Rey Arturo y sus caballeros de la mesa redonda.
Como en tierra de ciegos, el tuerto es el rey, Hank decide sacar provecho de sus conocimientos y trasladará la civilización y el modo de vida decimonónica al año 528, pero no con fines altruistas como reconoce,
...more
Mark Dewey
This book is awesome.

There's a ton of humor in it (a lot more than I was expecting). There's a lot of satire. There are a lot of issues. It would be great for discussion in a book club.

I love how Merlin is evil, and conniving. It gives the book some extra character.

I also love how although the main character (Hank) faces challenges, he's not forced to be in a weak position throughout the entire book. I'm glad Twain didn't do that here, although admittedly, he predates most of the books that do (
...more
Ken Elser
Although a bit of a mish-mash of ideas and stories and not particularly coherent in its structure, A Connecticut Yankee is surely an intriguing social commentary about the limits of progress and a strong condemnation of human nature. Twain uses his fantastical tale of a 19th century New Englander become right-hand man to King Arthur in the 6th century to illustrate his cynacism at the idea of true human progress and civilization, showing it to be ultimately self-defeating and as cruel as the mid ...more
Steven Benesi
What do I think? Well, I have a malleable top ten books I've ever read list, but there are two stalwarts that will never be shaken from it; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is one of these. Brilliant in its satire, cutting in its humor, in my opinion this is Clemens at his finest. I've read that it wasn't received well in its time, but for the days we all live in now it is a master work. It's amazing how much can change, yet how everything stays the same. Clemens take on the era of Ki ...more
Frederick
Calling a novel so consistent in its clarity uneven may seem paradoxical, but Mark Twain was nothing if not paradoxical. Its flaws are of the sort which only an author of fully established reputation would have given it.
In 1889, when this was published, HUCKLEBERRY FINN had been out for four years. He was fifty-four years old, and he'd live another twenty-one years. He was, therefore, in the early part of the last third or so of his life. With nothing to prove to anyone but himself, he wrote a
...more
Gabriele
Ho letto diversi romanzi di Twain e, mi duole dirlo, a partire da "Tom Sawyer" è stata una parabola discendente.
"Uno Yankee alla Corte di Re Artù" si è forse dimostrato migliore de "Il Princile e il Povero", ma per quanto la satira politica di Twain possa essere interessante, e per certi versi attuale, non riesce ad impedire al libro di essere prolisso e a tratti noioso. Troppe ripetizioni, troppe idee espresse più e più volte allo stesso modo con una narrazione che spesso fa perdere il contatt
...more
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1244
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
...more
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, #2) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, #1) The Prince and the Pauper The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Pudd'nhead Wilson

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