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Twain pays his debt to Cervantes and Swift

  • Dec 8, 2008
Not quite a classic, Twain pays his debt to Cervantes and Swift in this satiric fable about the collision between the "modern" world (19th Century America) and the world of Arthorian (authorian?) legend (6th century England). Twain gets in some sharp jabs against both time periods, with a deft touch of modern irony that makes the book seem surprisingly fresh at times (Twain even pops a "dudes and dudesses" reference!).

He puts his finger on the clear difficulty of interacting with (or portraying on books and movies) that pre-modern world: they inability to grasp the concepts of irony, reasoning, or disbelieve, leave Twain literally unable to communicate at times to both satiric and serious effect..

But the train wanders off the track in long dissertations on purchasing power, class and slavery, and Twain's seemingly gleeful telling of his facile ability to kill 50,000 knights with modern explosives, electric fences, and Gatling guns seems jarringly horrific and disturbing, especially after the historically-realized horrors of the last hundred years.

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Quick Tip by . October 08, 2010
Mark Twain's classic satire of 19th century society. Should be at the top of the list for Mark Twain fans.
review by . March 22, 2006
Few books exist that speak thru the ages by examining themes and situations that confront people of all time. This is one of those books. Unlike Twain's other classics, the focus of this piece is not America, or topics from American history (i.e. slavery), but more general themes such as industrialization, freedom, religion and religious dogma, government control, the meaning of progress, and individual aspirations versus peer pressure.     In short, this book focuses on the …
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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #36
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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Grade 5 Up-While Mark Twain is most often identified with his childhood home on the Mississippi, he wrote many of his enduring classics during the years he lived in Hartford, Connecticut. He had come a long way from Hannibal when he focused his irreverent humor on medieval tales, and wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The hit on the head that sent protagonist Hank Morgan back through 13 centuries did not affect his natural resourcefulness. Using his knowledge of an upcoming eclipse, Hank escapes a death sentence, and secures an important position at court. Gradually, he introduces 19th century technology so the clever Morgan soon has an easy life. That does not stop him from making disparaging, tongue-in-cheek remarks about the inequalities and imperfections of life in Camelot. Twain weaves many of the well-known Arthurian characters into his story, and he includes a pitched battle between Morgan's men and the nobility. Kenneth Jay's narration is a mix of good-natured bonhomie for Hank and more formal diction for the arcane Olde English speakers. Appropriate music is used throughout to indicate story breaks and add authenticity to scenes. This good quality recording is enhanced by useful liner notes and an attractive case. Younger listeners may need explanations of less familiar words, and some knowledge of the Knights of the Round Table will be helpful. Libraries completing an audiobook collection of Twain titles will enjoy this nice, but not ...
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ISBN-10: 0553211439
ISBN-13: 978-0553211436
Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Classics
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