A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-05-01
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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This novel of Mark Twain's -- "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" -- gives us an odd view of the American literary genius: it shows is bent twoward science ficional. Twain developed a close and lasting friendship with scientific wunderkind Nikola Tesla, and the two spent quite a bit of time together (in Tesla's laboratory, among other places). Twain's fascination appears in his time traveler (from contemporary America, yet!), using his knowledge of science to introduce modern technology to Arthurian England. As with all works of a master lke Tawain, we highly recommend this novel -- but just between us, this book is a lot of fun, too. Go ahead, read it now.

Table of Contents

Chronology of Mark Twain'S Life and Work Historical Context of
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Preface A Word of Explanation
The Tale of the Lost Land Camelot King Arthur's Court
Knights of the Table Round Sir Dinadan the Humorist An Inspiration
The Eclipse Merlin's Tower
The Boss The Tournament Beginnings of Civilization
The Yankee in Search of Adventures Slow Torture Freemen!
""Defend Thee, Lord!"" Sandy's Tale Morgan le Fay
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


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

It was a soft, reposeful summer landscape, as lovely as a dream, and as lonesomeas 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 nostir of life, nothing going on. The road was mainly a winding path with hoofprints in it, and now and then a faint trace of wheels on either side in thegrass - 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 goldenhair streaming down over her shoulders, came long. Around her head she wore ahoop of flame-red poppies. It was as sweet an outfit as I ever saw, what there was of it. She walked indolently along, with a mind at rest, its peace reflectedin her innocent face. The circus man paid no attention to her; didn't even seemto see her. And she - she was no more startled at his fantastic makeup than ifshe 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 happenedto notice me,thenthere was a change! Up went her hands, and she wasturned to stone; her mouth dropped open, her eyes stared wide and timorously; she was the picture of astonished curiosity touched with fear. And there shestood gazing, in a sort of stupefied fascination, till we turned a corner of thewood 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 thatshe 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 passeda wretched cabin, with a thatched roof, and about it small fields and gardenpatches in an indifferent state of cultivation. There were people, too; brawnymen, with long, coarse, uncombed hair that hung down over their faces and madethem look like animals. They and the women, as a rule, wore a coarse tow-linenrobe that came well below the knee, and a rude sort of sandals, and many worean iron collar. The small boys and girls were always naked; but nobody seemedto know it. All of these people stared at me, talked about me, ran into the hutsand fetched out their families to gape at me; but nobody ever noticed that otherfellow, 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 awilderness of thatched cabins; the streets were mere crooked alleys, and unpaved; troops of dogs and nude children played in the sun and made life andnoise; 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 nearer, still nearer,and soon a noble cavalcade wound into view, glorious with plumed helmets andflashing mail and flaunting banners and rich doublets and horsecloths and gildedspearheads; 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. Followedthrough one winding alley and then another - and climbing, always climbing - till at last we gained the breezy height where the huge castle stood. There wasan exchange of bugle blasts; then a parley from the walls, where men-at-arms, inhauberk and morion, marched back and forth with halberd at shoulder under flapping banners with the rude figure of a dragon displayed upon them; and thenthe gates were flung open, the drawbridge was lowered, and the head of thecavalcade swept forward under the frowning arches; and we, following, soon foundourselves in a great paved court, with towers and turrets stretching up into theblue air on all the four sides; and all about us the dismount was going on, andmuch greeting and ceremony, and running to-and-fro, and a gay display of movingand intermingling colors, and an altogether pleasant stir and noise and confusion.

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