Ike Sharpless'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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Jul 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, speculative-fiction, favorites

Twain and Orwell top the list of 'authors whose collected works are ignored because they have one or two really famous, now even cliched, books'. (On the case of Orwell, pretty much every book of his other than the Clergyman's Daughter is awesome, and his essays are as important today as they were over half a decade ago...but that's another review.)

Most people think they know this story, and their conception is one of a silly time-travelling yarn for kids (think a variant on Martin Lawrence's "Black Knight"). But they're wrong. This is one of the first modern works of speculative/science fiction, and the pragmatic Yankee protagonist destroys most of our unselfconscious Shibboleths about medieval chivalry, showing fundamentalist anti-science (albeit pre-science) obscurantism for what it really was.
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