Natalie's Reviews > A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
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's review
Sep 24, 2011

did not like it
Read from September 18 to 24, 2011 , read count: 1

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.
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05/11 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole great review! I think I might have enjoyed this more were I not something of a medieval buff. I see what Twain was trying to do, but I couldn't get past the bad history. Especially since it was basically A Connecticut Yankee in Malory's Book, rather than the 6th century.

message 2: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie As a graduate student in medieval studies with a concentration in Arthurian literature, I can see why readers would be caught off guard by Twain's depiction of the traditional characters. But at the same time, I don't think his purpose was to write an adventure/ love story in typical Arthurian fashion, but rather to use Camelot as merely a setting for a witty and comical comment on the human race and it's development.

message 3: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole yeah, I get that that wasn't his purpose .. but doesn't make it any more readable to me! It just wasn't my thing, but I come into it with different baggage than some.

Wreade1872 Personally i hate the arturian aesthetic so i enjoyed this quite a bit more :) .
Idylls of the King is also great for people who normally hate this stuff.

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