A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court


I will admit that I did not care much for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain. It was on my list of 50 classics to read in 5 years, and was the book that came up for my Classics Club Spin #28, however I labored to get through it. Mark Twain had a wicked sense of humor, and that was the part of the book I enjoyed the most. If it had just been a comedy, with the fantastical adventure of going back in time to the world of King Arthur, I would have gotten a big kick out of it. But it was overall a much more serious book, touted as a critique of the political and social Institutions of the time. I’m afraid I’m suffering from burnout from the political and social institutions of our own time, and it was clear from this book that not much has changed since Twain’s America.
I found it tedious with the tedium lifted by episodes of brilliant humor.

from the publisher:

Hank Morgan is the archetype of modern man in 19th-century New England: adept at his trade as a mechanic, innovative, forward thinking. So when a blow to the head inexplicably sends him back in time 1300 years and places him in Camelot, instead of despair, he feels emboldened by the prospect placed before him and sets out to modernize and improve the lives of his fellow citizens. But, in order to do so, he’ll need to contend with brash nobles, superstitious nincompoops, and a conniving, blowhard wizard.

While time travel has become a common trope in storytelling today, in Twain’s time it was truly a novel idea; all the more imaginative when you consider how it’s used for satirical effect. A thinly veiled critique of the political and social institutions that impede progress and a scathing condemnation of the naiveté that allows them to thrive, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court saw Twain’s biting wit and sharp tongue honed to a fine point.

I had both a Kindle version of the book and the audiobook which was narrated by Nick Offerman. He did a great job with his narration, and that was a plus in my experience with the story. And as I have discovered over time with my negative responses to certain books, it was simply not a good time for me to read it. I might like it much better at a different point in my life. But to quote my wise son (at age 3 or 4), “maybe so and maybe not.”

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