A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court

by Mark Twain

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Overview

When Hank Morgan awakens after a knockout blow to the head, he is shocked to find himself transported from his native Connecticut into the medieval world of King Arthur’s Court. What follows is a comedic adventure where Hank, utilizing his knowledge of nineteenth century technology, attempts to improve the lives of the people of Camelot, thus altering the course of history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781443426701
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Publication date: 11/19/2013
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 511 KB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Twain, who was born Samuel L. Clemens in Missouri in 1835, wrote some of the most enduring works of literature in the English language, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc was his last completed book—and, by his own estimate, his best. Its acquisition by Harper & Brothers allowed Twain to stave off bankruptcy. He died in 1910. 

Date of Birth:

November 30, 1835

Date of Death:

April 21, 1910

Place of Birth:

Florida, Missouri

Place of Death:

Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER I.
CAMELOT


"CAMELOT - Camelot," said I to myself. "I don't seem to remember hearing of it before. Name of the asylum, likely."

It was a soft, reposeful summer landscape, as lovely as a dream, and as lonesome as Sunday. The air was full of the smell of flowers, and the buzzing of insects, and the twittering of birds, and there were no people, no wagons, there was no stir of life, nothing going on. The road was mainly a winding path with hoof-prints in it, and now and then a faint trace of wheels on either side in the grass - wheels that apparently had a tire as broad as one's hand.

Presently a fair slip of a girl, about ten years old, with a cataract of golden hair streaming down over her shoulders, came along. Around her head she wore a hoop of flame-red poppies. It was as sweet an outfit as ever I saw, what there was of it. She walked indolently along, with a mind at rest, its peace reflected in her innocent face. The circus man paid no attention to her; didn't even seem to see her. And she - she was no more startled at his fantastic make-up than if she was used to his like every day of her life. She was going by as indifferently as she might have gone by a couple of cows; but when she happened to notice me, then there was a change! Up went her hands, and she was turned to stone; her mouth dropped open, her eyes stared wide and timorously, she was the picture of astonished curiosity touched with fear. And there she stood gazing, in a sort of stupefied fascination, till we turned a corner of the wood and were lost to her view. That she should be startled at me instead of at the other man, was too many for me; I couldn't make head or tail of it. And that she should seem to consider me a spectacle, and totally overlook her own merits in that respect, was another puzzling thing, and a display of magnanimity, too, that was surprising in one so young. There was food for thought here. I moved along as one in a dream.

As we approached the town, signs of life began to appear. At intervals we passed a wretched cabin, with a thatched roof, and about it small fields and garden patches in an indifferent state of cultivation. There were people, too; brawny men, with long, coarse, uncombed hair that hung down over their faces and made them look like animals. They and the women, as a rule, wore a coarse tow-linen robe that came well below the knee, and a rude sort of sandal, and many wore an iron collar. The small boys and girls were always naked; but nobody seemed to know it. All of these people stared at me, talked about me, ran into the huts and fetched out their families to gape at me; but nobody ever noticed that other fellow, except to make him humble salutation and get no response for their pains.

In the town were some substantial windowless houses of stone scattered among a wilderness of thatched cabins; the streets were mere crooked alleys, and unpaved; troops of dogs and nude children played in the sun and made life and noise; hogs roamed and rooted contentedly about, and one of them lay in a reeking wallow in the middle of the main thoroughfare and suckled her family. Presently there was a distant blare of military music; it came nearer, still nearer, and soon a noble cavalcade wound into view, glorious with plumed helmets and flashing mail and flaunting banners and rich doublets and horse-cloths and gilded spearheads; and through the muck and swine, and naked brats, and joyous dogs, and shabby huts, it took its gallant way, and in its wake we followed. Followed through one winding alley and then another - and climbing, always climbing - till at last we gained the breezy height where the huge castle stood. There was an exchange of bugle blasts; then a parley from the walls, where men-at-arms, in hauberk and morion, marched back and forth with halberd at shoulder under flapping banners with the rude figure of a dragon displayed upon them; and then the great gates were flung open, the drawbridge was lowered, and the head of the cavalcade swept forward under the frowning arches; and we, following, soon found ourselves in a great paved court, with towers and turrets stretching up into the blue air on all the four sides; and all about us the dismount was going on, and much greeting and ceremony, and running to and fro, and a gay display of moving and intermingling colors, and an altogether pleasant stir and noise and confusion.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "A Land Without Chromos"ix
Prefacexxix
A Word of Explanationxxxi
Chapter 1Camelot1
Chapter 2King Arthur's Court7
Chapter 3Knights of the Table Round17
Chapter 4Sir Dinadan the Humorist27
Chapter 5An Inspiration33
Chapter 6The Eclipse43
Chapter 7Merlin's Tower53
Chapter 8The Boss63
Chapter 9The Tournament73
Chapter 10Beginnings of Civilization83
Chapter 11The Yankee in Search of Adventures91
Chapter 12Slow Torture103
Chapter 13Freemen!113
Chapter 14"Defend Thee, Lord!"125
Chapter 15Sandy's Tale133
Chapter 16Morgan le Fay145
Chapter 17A Royal Banquet155
Chapter 18In the Queen's Dungeons169
Chapter 19Knight Errantry as a Trade183
Chapter 20The Ogre's Castle191
Chapter 21The Pilgrims201
Chapter 22The Holy Fountain217
Chapter 23Restoration of the Fountain231
Chapter 24A Rival Magician243
Chapter 25A Competitive Examination257
Chapter 26The First Newspaper273
Chapter 27The Yankee and the King Travel Incognito287
Chapter 28Drilling the King299
Chapter 29The Small-Pox Hut307
Chapter 30The Tragedy of the Manor-House317
Chapter 31Marco331
Chapter 32Dowley's Humiliation343
Chapter 33Sixth Century Political Economy355
Chapter 34The Yankee and the King Sold as Slaves371
Chapter 35A Pitiful Incident387
Chapter 36An Encounter in the Dark399
Chapter 37An Awful Predicament407
Chapter 38Sir Launcelot and Knights to the Rescue417
Chapter 39The Yankee's Fight with the Knights425
Chapter 40Three Years Later439
Chapter 41The Interdict451
Chapter 42War!459
Chapter 43The Battle of the Sand Belt475
Chapter 44A Postscript by Clarence493
Final P.S. By M.T.497

Reading Group Guide

1.  How does Hank Morgan change throughout the novel? Is this change for the better, or for worse? How does his speech reflect his change in attitude?

2.  The theme of the “mysterious stranger” (an outsider who enters a community or circle and enacts some kind of disruption) often appears in Twain’s works. How does Hank use his status as an “outsider” to his advantage? What does he bring from the outside that benefits sixth-century England? Into which world does Hank ultimately fit?

3.  What is Hank Morgan’s view of the Catholic church?

4.  Many critics consider A Connecticut Yankee to be Twain’s most flawed work because he simply wanted to do “too much.” Do you agree? If so, why?

5.  Consider the end of the novel. What statement does Twain make with this ending? Do you feel it is a fulfilling way to end the book?

Customer Reviews

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 352 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For pete's sake! Every third word is mispelled or replaced with an inappropriate word. It's like having spellcheck correcting the entire works of Twain! As a new nook user, now I know how they get you to upgrade to the paid versions...just make the free ones unreadable.
AmeliaAT More than 1 year ago
I like the book, but the formatting of this particular version was really bad, at least on Nook for Android. The beginning of the book was garbled with the very first paragraph beginning in the middle and others out of order. I am going to look for a different version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would give it 0 stars if i couldd the paragraphs were jumbled in with each other and ut was really confusing i only gor ti page 30 if yiu reading this dont take up the wasted space
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain's book is about a nineteenth century Yankee named Hank who finds himself in Camelot after getting hit on the head. He must immediately fight for his life and find his place in his new world. His resources include his knowledge of the future, an understanding of technology and machinery, and a quick wit. The plot focuses on Hank's attempts to refine the culture and ideas of this early medieval time. I liked the way that events in the story unfolded because it was refreshingly unpredictable and unique. At one point in time, he is posting billboards on knights for advertisement purposes, and later he is lassoing knights from their saddles in a jousting tournament. Although these things may seem silly and off-the-wall, Twain uses interesting, eye-catching language (for instance, when he is describing the castle on page thirty-three, he says, "There was no gas, there were no candles' a bronzed dish half full of boardinghouse butter with a blazing rag floating in it was the thing that produced what was regarded as light"). His description of simple things is still extremely interesting. He provides a deeper message about politics and the oppression of the people. Although I sincerely enjoyed the plot and Twain's language, I did not like Hank as a character. As he came into power due to his knowledge and understanding, he became conceited. He liked to think of the world around him as a stage; he would do things in a way that would be the most picturesque, instead of in ways that would most easily help himself and the people around him. As an example, Hank, at one point in the novel, chants in a magical language as he is freeing water from a well with an explosion. Twain seems to be teaching a lesson by pointing out the flaws in Hank, but at times his character was annoying to me because of his showy attitude. Altogether, the book was very enjoyable. My own dislikes as I read the story were few and minor. The story is very well done and deserves to be read if you are looking for a good classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It is so funny and really an enjoyable read. I love anything by Mark Twain because he puts such humor into potentially boring subjects. He really lightens up the whole King Arthur story. I would recommend this book to anyone I know. You must read this book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is good after you get past the photo copies but its anoying that google is thrown in everywhere in the book
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good friend recommended that I read this book and I enjoyed every word. First of all, I thought it was hilarious, full of biting satire. Secondly, it was such a fresh look at Camelot, Twain wasn't held back by the idealized and over-romanicized legends of King Arthur. I highly recommend this book, it may change your point of view.
NataliaAbramova More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books. It's so smart and deep. Some moments are emotional but it is written with humor and some moments you can't help but laugh with amazement and admiration. Mark Twain is brilliant. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is actully a great read but I would not reccommend this version. thie books that are digitized are really hard to read unless you are into that sort of thing. go pay the couple of bucks and get it so you can actully read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are some missed spelled words and the paragraphs are jumblled up but it us really good. By the way im 11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reviews for every version of this book have been jumbled up! If you are going to get this then get the one for barnes and noble classics! So what if its three bucks more, it's readable!
kamas716 More than 1 year ago
I like the story, I just don't like the prose he used. It became tedious to read after awhile. I seem to have this same problem with many 18th and 19th century works. The eBook didn't have many obvious errors, just some weird page breaks due to the transfer process.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very poor edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too short
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did anyone read the description. It is translated from a book written prior to 1923. It clearly explains there will be errors. If you want to read an updated edited version then pay for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way to boring!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No surprises with Mark Twain as he continually dazzled and entertained me with his non-stop action, wild, color characters. Coupled with healthy doses of dry and sometimes, caustic old-fashioned sense of humor, I hung onto his every word as if it were the first time I had read this book. I can never get enough of Mark Twain.
SuperBeanDip More than 1 year ago
What would happen if a man today traveled back in time to the middle ages and superimposed himself on the government? The result is some of the most inspired satire ever created, known as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, written by Mark Twain. The protagonist, Hank Morgan, is smart and cynical, the perfect man to poke fun at the romanticized ideas of chivalry and feudalism. He uses his knowledge and cunning to prove himself an all-powerful magician, which secures him a position in the government as second-in-command to the king. Hank isn't without his flaws; he suffers from a temper and can act irrationally because of it in some cases. However, he's a hilarious and usually kind character that's easy to get attached to. As funny as some encounters can get, there are also some downright shocking moments. Heartbreaking displays are shown throughout the book: families with smallpox left to die, slavery, and incredibly twisted seeming governmental policies. Not only is it gruesome, but it is all considered normal in the sixth century. Although the deplorable state of humanity in that time is only part of the focus of the book, it certainly has a powerful and profound effect on the reader. It goes without saying that this book is an absolute delight. It's easily equal to any of Mark Twain's other classics. Hank Morgan should be regarded as one of the great characters: one who's never perfect, but always entertaining.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Very entertaining. And an interesting commentary on several different aspects of life today.
Anonymous 6 months ago
The jokes are 100+ years old but still hold up. There are episodes that drag, but it is a fun read.
sgerbic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A delightful humorous account of time travel by Mark Twain. Reading a work from the 1880's by an author writing in the "style" of England in the 6th Century was at times difficult to understand. Twain's humor shielded in serious dialog made it even more difficult. But nonetheless I did enjoy reading Twain's views on slavery, economy, health, chivalry, and religion from eyes that had just seen the bloody American Civil War. The accounts of his character hank's interactions of slavery were heart wrenching as well as the stories of poverty, illness and injustice. Twain's goal in this work was to ridicule chivalry, some say because of Southern attitudes towards chivalry during the war. I expected many great quotes, but only this one stood out, "My acquaintance smiled - not a modern smile, but one that must have gone out of general use many, many centuries ago." (p, 16) And one more, Hank has just met Clarance who informs hank he is a page, "Go 'long, I said; "you ain't more than a paragraph." (p.28)01-2010
mojacobs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book in a second hand shop, because I was curious what Twain would have made of this nice idea: a technically well educated 19th century man in the court of Arthur. I did not expect too much, and I was right to: the story is secondary to the political messages in this book, and the story is not very interesting. I read a lot of it diagonally - the book is very slow in places. A bit disappointing, and I wonder if this will stay a "classic" - I think it might quietly disappear in the mists of time.¿
InfoTechHS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was short and funny.
FredB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mark Twain's classic tale of culture clash. The narrator was great.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An absolutely wonderful, humourous book. One of Twain's best.