Mark Twain’s Arthurian dystopia

Mark Twain’s Arthurian dystopia

Mark Twain

1889

London, England

Printed Book

This is the first English edition of Mark Twain’s comic satire, more commonly known now as A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court. Its protagonist Hank Morgan finds himself back in the Arthurian world after receiving a blow to the head, but the book is no nostalgic dream of chivalrous medievalism. Instead, Twain writes an antidote to Malory and Walter Scott, critiquing romantic medievalism and nineteenth-century society, politics and religion. Twain vehemently rejected Scott’s version of the Middle Ages, writing in 1883 that Scott set the world ‘in love with dreams and phantoms; with degraded and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of government; with the silliness and emptiness, sham grandeurs, sham gauds, and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society’.

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