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About the Author
Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, novelist, and lecturer. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, a setting which would serve as inspiration for some of his most famous works. After an apprenticeship at a local printer’s shop, he worked as a typesetter and contributor for a newspaper run by his brother Orion. Before embarking on a career as a professional writer, Twain spent time as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi and as a miner in Nevada. In 1865, inspired by a story he heard at Angels Camp, California, he published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” earning him international acclaim for his abundant wit and mastery of American English. He spent the next decade publishing works of travel literature, satirical stories and essays, and his first novel, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873). In 1876, he published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a novel about a mischievous young boy growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. In 1884 he released a direct sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which follows one of Tom’s friends on an epic adventure through the heart of the American South. Addressing themes of race, class, history, and politics, Twain captures the joys and sorrows of boyhood while exposing and condemning American racism. Despite his immense success as a writer and popular lecturer, Twain struggled with debt and bankruptcy toward the end of his life, but managed to repay his creditors in full by the time of his passing at age 74. Curiously, Twain’s birth and death coincided with the appearance of Halley’s Comet, a fitting tribute to a visionary writer whose steady sense of morality survived some of the darkest periods of American history.
Date of Birth:November 30, 1835
Date of Death:April 21, 1910
Place of Birth:Florida, Missouri
Place of Death:Redding, Connecticut
Read an Excerpt
Chapter I Camelot
Excerpted from "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"
Copyright © 1972 Mark Twain.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsILLUSTRATIONS
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT
A Word of Explanation
2. King Arthur's Court
3. Knights of the Table Round
4. Sir Dinadan the Humorist
5. An Inspiration
6. The Eclipse
7. Merlin's Tower
8. The Boss
9. The Tournament
10. Beginnings of Civilization
11. The Yankee in Search of Adventures
12. Slow Torture
14. "Defend Thee, Lord!"
15. Sandy's Tale
16. Morgan le Fay
17. A Royal Banquet
18. In the Queen's Dungeons
19. Knight-Errantry as a Trade
20. The Ogre's Castle
21. The Pilgrims
22. The Holy Fountain
23. Restoration of the Fountain
24. A Rival Magician
25. A Competitive Examination
26. The First Newspaper
27. The Yankee and the King Travel Incognito
28. Drilling the King
29. The Small-Pox Hut
30. The Tragedy of the Manor House
32. Dawley's Humiliation
33. Sixth-Century Political Economy
34. The Yankee and the King Sold as Slaves
35. A Pitiful Incident
36. An Encounter in the Dark
37. An Awful Predicament
38. Sir Launcelot and Knights to the Rescue
39. The Yankee's Fight with the Knights
40. Three Years Later
41. The Interdict
43. The Battle of the Sand-Belt
44. A Postscript by Clarence
NOTE ON THE TEXT
What People are Saying About This
"Dufris's enthusiastic narration is perfect; the deep drawl he produces might very well be the voice of Twain himself, and his pacing and comedic timing will delight listeners." -Publishers Weekly Starred Audio Review
Reading Group Guide
1. How does Hank Morgan change throughout the novel? Is this change for the better, or for worse? How does his speech reflect his change in attitude?
2. The theme of the “mysterious stranger” (an outsider who enters a community or circle and enacts some kind of disruption) often appears in Twain’s works. How does Hank use his status as an “outsider” to his advantage? What does he bring from the outside that benefits sixth-century England? Into which world does Hank ultimately fit?
3. What is Hank Morgan’s view of the Catholic church?
4. Many critics consider A Connecticut Yankee to be Twain’s most flawed work because he simply wanted to do “too much.” Do you agree? If so, why?
5. Consider the end of the novel. What statement does Twain make with this ending? Do you feel it is a fulfilling way to end the book?