Review: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Classic is a belter from Mark Twain. I’m a real sucker for Mark Twain’s stuff – every time I’m in a second hand bookstore I always try to find one of his books (I’ve even got a copy of Tom Sawyer in Spanish).

I picked up A Connecticut Yankee at Shakespeare & Company in Paris years ago (the second hand bookstore of second hand bookstores) and they put on this pretty cool stamp as kind of reminder keepsake thing:

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(If you’re interested in learning more about this bonkers book shop then check out DinoBeano’s post here).

Anyway, on to the book. A cracker of American literature (I don’t know why it isn’t on more best read lists), a guy from the 19th century wakes up in medieval England, and fools everyone into thinking he’s a magician, since he knows about eclipses, and technology and whatnot. It’s a riot of fun from the get-go.

It all seems to be a forum for Twain to give his opinions on a lot of things – on bad government, and the Catholic Church in particular:

…an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition. That wasn’t law; it wasn’t gospel: it was only an opinion — my opinion, and I was only a man, one man: so it wasn’t worth any more than the pope’s — or any less, for that matter.

My favourite bit is anywhere Twain does his trademark Twain writing:

I flung out a hair-lifting soul-scorching thirteen-jointed insult which made the king’s effort poor and cheap by comparison. I got it out of the nineteenth century where they know how.

Yep, this thing is a classic.

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