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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court [Kindle Edition]

Mark Twain
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It was in Warwick Castle that I came across the curious stranger whom I am going to talk about. He attracted me by three things: his candid simplicity, his marvelous familiarity with ancient armor, and the restfulness of his company—for he did all the talking. We fell together, as modest people will, in the tail of the herd that was being shown through, and he at once began to say things which interested me. As he talked along, softly, pleasantly, flowingly, he seemed to drift away imperceptibly out of this world and time, and into some remote era and old forgotten country; and so he gradually wove such a spell about me that I seemed to move among the specters and shadows and dust and mold of a gray antiquity, holding speech with a relic of it! Exactly as I would speak of my nearest personal friends or enemies, or my most familiar neighbors, he spoke of Sir Bedivere, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Launcelot of the Lake, Sir Galahad, and all the other great names of the Table Round—and how old, old, unspeakably old and faded and dry and musty and ancient he came to look as he went on! Presently he turned to me and said, just as one might speak of the weather, or any other common matter—"You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about transposition of epochs—and bodies?" I said I had not heard of it. He was so little interested—just as when people speak of the weather—that he did not notice whether I made him any answer or not. There was half a moment of silence, immediately interrupted by the droning voice of the salaried cicerone: "Ancient hauberk, date of the sixth century, time of King Arthur and the Round Table; said to have belonged to the knight Sir Sagramor le Desirous; observe the round hole through the chain-mail in the left breast; can't be accounted for; supposed to have been done with a bullet since invention of firearms—perhaps maliciously by Cromwell's soldiers." My acquaintance smiled—not a modern smile, but one that must have gone out of general use many, many centuries ago—and muttered apparently to himself: "Wit ye well, I saw it done ." Then, after a pause, added: "I did it myself." By the time I had recovered from the electric surprise of this remark, he was gone

Product Description

Review

"Twain is the funniest literary American writer. . . . [I]t must have been a great pleasure to be him."
--George Saunders

About the Author

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 722 KB
  • Print Length: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Library of Alexandria (27 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006K322X4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,448,925 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910). He was born and brought up in the American state of Missouri and, because of his father's death, he left school to earn his living when he was only twelve. He was a great adventurer and travelled round America as a printer; prospected for gold and set off for South America to earn his fortune. He returned to become a steam-boat pilot on the Mississippi River, close to where he had grown up. The Civil War put an end to steam-boating and Clemens briefly joined the Confederate army - although the rest of his family were Unionists! He had already tried his hand at newspaper reporting and now became a successful journalist. He started to use the alias Mark Twain during the Civil War and it was under this pen name that he became a famous travel writer. He took the name from his steam-boat days - it was the river pilots' cry to let their men know that the water was two fathoms deep.

Mark Twain was always nostalgic about his childhood and in 1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, based on his own experiences. The book was soon recognised as a work of genius and eight years later the sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published. The great writer Ernest Hemingway claimed that 'All modern literature stems from this one book.'

Mark Twain was soon famous all over the world. He made a fortune from writing and lost it on a typesetter he invented. He then made another fortune and lost it on a bad investment. He was an impulsive, hot-tempered man but was also quite sentimental and superstitious. He was born when Halley's Comet was passing the Earth and always believed he would die when it returned - this is exactly what happened.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely in formative 16 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title of this book encouraged me to send for it although I didn't know whether it was going to be interesting for an elderly lady of nearly 86.
Although I have it on Kindle I also sent for the book as I wanted a written record.
I found it thoroughly interesting. Factual, and in some places really funny. The personal experiences related within the book take you back years and yet it is also full of geographical, historical and other data. The author's grasp of human nature was really good too. I could see the old steamboats in my minds eye -0 I wish I could now!! I was completely absorbed with it until I regretfully finished it!!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on the Mississippi 8 Sept. 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
This book loosely follows a trip taken by Twain along the length of the Mississippi. The story of the journey is constantly interrupted by short, entertaining tales related to Twain's prior career as a steamboat pilot. I am always impressed with Twain's storytelling abilities, and though this is not like his typical novel, I quickly devoured it. This book may have had additional significance to me considering I spent a decade living along the banks of the Mississippi. Nevertheless, Twain is always great and timeless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Knights and other professional liars 7 Dec. 2011
By C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this, his fifth novel, Mark Twain satirises Arthurian romance with his inimitable wit. The eponymous Yankee, Hank Morgan, suffers a blow to the head and is sent back in time to sixth-century England. There he learns that the members of Arthur's court are naive, deluded idiots who choose to believe in fantastic deeds and embark on pointless quests simply because it is de riguer to do so.

Turning this perceived idiocy to his advantage, Hank attempts to modernise the culture with the eventual aim of overthrowing the monarchy and installing a democracy. He plans to achieve his goal by subtly subverting and eventually destroying the order of knights and the outdated code of chivalry by which they live their lives. The premise of an invading American forcing his beliefs on an underdeveloped culture is one which seems more relevant today than the day it was written.

Twain uses this time-travelling adventure as a vehicle to criticise facets of Medieval British society, such as the Catholic Church (which he believes hinders technological and social progression), the monarchy and the aristocracy, and to espouse the American ideals of freedom and democracy. 'A Connecticut Yankee...' is an enjoyable and amusing parody of Medieval Romance which doesn't require a knowledge of the genre in order for the reader to enjoy it.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the Mississippi - Long, Broad and Meandering 28 Aug. 2006
Format:Paperback
In a lecture at Harvard in 1967, Borges said that over the years, fueled by his enthusiasm for Huckleberry Finn, he had read and re-read Life on the Mississippi. I also started reading this book because I wanted to return to Huck's world, but do not think I will ever re-read it, though undeniably certain passages are evocative and memorable. I did find it tiresomely factual in places. But if you have time to kill and long for Old Man River, there are certainly worse ways to pass the hours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining history 5 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great stories from the pioneering days of american history mixed with the insight of a river steamer pilot into the changing face of the Mississippi. Easy to pick up and put down. Finally it meandered so much I put it down before I'd reached the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and fun to read 27 Aug. 2013
By Frank 9
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As well as lethally sharp & intelligent powers of observation Mark Twain has a beautiful, compassionate and humane sense of humour, which gets lots of exercise in this wonderful autobiographical book. As well as the wealth of fascinating information he presents about this amazing river, there are numerous hilarious anecdotes about his own training as a steamboat river pilot which reveal the astonishing feats of memory and nerve the job required, piloting boats which often were worth more than $4million in today's money down a river which had no lights to help navigate at night, and which bristled with hazards capable of sinking these floating palaces. The constantly shifting shape and banks and river-bed made the job unimagnably difficult, and no wonder the top pilots were princes of the river. Life on the Mississippi is a wonderfully readable record and celebration of an America which was vanishing even as Mark Twain was writing the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars all time favorite 20 Aug. 2011
By bappada
Format:Kindle Edition
I am nostalgic about this book, and therefore purchased it. The Kindle edition is nice to read and I liked the pictures. This is a great book, masterly yet entertaining and I enjoyed reading after twenty odd years. In short this is a book about life as well as about one of the greatest rivers in the planet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I bought it because it was 99p! 7 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I could not put it down. The language itself takes you to another era. I love travel but in this age, travel like that of Mark Twain is no longer possible. Nowadays speed is of the essence. Then it was accuracy and devotion to a craft. Even the attention to detail is that of a craftsman.
I knew another Mark Twain (I didn't realise till I began reading of his diverse acheivements).
Set aside some precious time. Relax in a peaceful setting and enjoy this wonderful book.
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