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A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court

By Mark Twain ( Samuel Langhorne Clemens )

About This Book

The storyteller is a modern Yankee, he tells us — unsentimental. He can make anything, figure out anything. And then something happens: . . .It was during a misunderstanding conducted with crowbars with a fellow we used to call Hercules. He laid me out with a crusher alongside the head that made everything crack, and seemed to spring every joint in my skull and made it overlap its neighbor. Then the world went out in darkness, and I didn't feel anything more, and didn't know anything at all — at least for a while.

When I came to again, I was sitting under an oak tree, on the grass, with a whole beautiful and broad country landscape all to myself . . . And he finds himself in the early Middle Ages — a semi-professional critic and "Fixer-upper" of all things.

Told with humor, insight, and a rousing sense of narrative, this shows Mark Twain's mind as its capacious best!

About Mark Twain ( Samuel Langhorne Clemens )

(1835-1910) Sam Clemens, a native of Missouri, lived and worked along the Mississippi River as a young man. With not much formal schooling, he was apprenticed to a printer, and as a young man he worked as a printer and a newspaper writer. He enjoyed a short but successful career as a riverboat pilot (a highly respectable position), and after a brief stint in the militia during the Civil War, he joined his brother in Nevada and resumed writing — this time as free-lance writer and columnist.

It was during this interval that he began using the pen name of Mark Twain, taking from his riverboat days a term which meant "two fathoms deep" — a safe depth.

His first book, a collection of stories titled, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches," was published in 1867. His second, "Innocents Abroad," written after a trip to Europe and the Middle East, appeared in 1869. It sold well and made him an established writer by the time he was 35 years old. The following year, in 1870, he married Olivia Langdon.

Mark Twain produced other entertaining travel books in the same vein: "Roughing it" in 1872, "A Tramp Abroad" in 1880, and "Following the Equator" in 1897, but it is for his novels that he is most known. His best work was done beginning in 1876, with "Tom Sawyer." It was followed by "The Prince and the Pauper," in 1880, "Life on the Mississippi," describing his river-pilot days, then the admirably realized "Huckleberry Finn," in 1884, and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," in 1889.

But Twain was a far better writer than he was a businessman, and in 1893, at about the time that "Pudd'nhead Wilson" was published, a series of disastrous business deals forced him into bankruptcy. Although with hard work he was able to repay all his debts, the effort told on his writing. The sadness that resulted from the deaths of his daughter, and then his brother and a sister, followed by the death of his wife a few years later, gave the work of his final years a bleaker tone, and it was less successful. Overall, however, he stands as one of America's most popular writers and humorists.


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