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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  65,952 Ratings  ·  1,793 Reviews
This novel tells the story of Hank Morgan, the quintessential self-reliant New Englander who brings to King Arthur’s Age of Chivalry the “great and beneficent” miracles of nineteenth-century engineering and American ingenuity. Through the collision of past and present, Twain exposes the insubstantiality of both utopias, destroying the myth of the romantic ideal as well as ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 274 pages
Published October 1st 1983 by Bantam Classics (first published 1889)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
Lyn
Apr 29, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Paquita Maria Sanchez
May 14, 2013 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Megan
Dec 07, 2012 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, iah-207
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
Andrei Tamaş
May 31, 2016 Andrei Tamaş rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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", moravuri
...more
Joe Valdez
Nov 14, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lotz
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 ans
...more
Natalie
Sep 24, 2011 Natalie rated it did not like it
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
Erik Graff
Apr 15, 2012 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Sarah
Aug 03, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer (aka EM)
Aug 04, 2012 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2009 Franklin Peach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
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
Sep 20, 2008 East Bay J rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Ruth Hinckley
Aug 03, 2010 Ruth Hinckley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 07, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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 la
...more
Casey
Feb 06, 2008 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oliviu Craznic
„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 s ...more
Stela
Apr 13, 2012 Stela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
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
Jan 24, 2008 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tracey
Oh, wow, Goodreads changed this too. Yech.

While I've long been a fan of the man Mark Twain, and know a good bit about him (living in Connecticut, it's almost hard to avoid the latter), I just haven't ever read much of his work. Or, you know, any. I'm not sure why, and I'm kind of surprised at the realization. In any case I was pleased to see A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in my Audiobookblast.com email, and I ran with it.

And it was utterly not what I expected.

In all honesty, it wa
...more
Wendy
Nov 21, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it
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
David
Nov 14, 2013 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
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
Melanti
I was a huge King Arthur fan in high school, but despite that, I never got around to reading this book.

I suppose that's a good thing, though! Despite quoting extensively from Le Morte de Arthur, Twain's rendition is about everything except the Matter of Britain.

It's about poking fun at monarchies in comparison to democracies. It's about class and caste systems, anti-slavery, wealth inequality, problems with the Catholic church, inflation, etc. Twain is basically using his 6th century tale to pok
...more
Wreade1872
My opinion of this book vacillated wildly throughout. This is technically what you think it is. Its a comedy about a man who ends up in arthurian britain. However it isn't just a comedy... its a dark, DARK comedy! I mean its like 1984 dark... in fact its like 1984 not just in its darkness but also in its politics.
This book has a lot to say about human ignorance, slavery, the human capacity to sell each other out and work against their own interest etc.
The pointedness of the story actually work
...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
Cynthia .
Oct 16, 2014 Cynthia . rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twain has disappointed me with his dragging story of Huckleberry Finn, so much so, that I almost gave up on him, but I have this habit of giving a chance more - a second time around, that is to say. So I read Connecticut Yankee and with it, Twain has redeemed himself.

The story touches on a compendium of important and sensitive issues during Medieval England: slavery and physical maltreatment brought upon by the nobility and the clergy, the weak, erratic jurisprudence of the rulers, the supersti
...more
Maria Thomarey
Nov 14, 2015 Maria Thomarey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Όπως όλα τα βιβλία του : πολύ διασκεδαστικό .!
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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
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“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” 3080 likes
“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.” 46 likes
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