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Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Mark Twain

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page







  A Word of Explanation.

  CHAPTER I. - Camelot.

  CHAPTER II. - King Arthur’s Court.

  CHAPTER III. - Knights of the Table Round.

  CHAPTER IV. - Sir Dinadan the Humorist.

  CHAPTER V. - An Inspiration.

  CHAPTER VI. - The Eclipse.

  CHAPTER VII. - Merlin’s Tower.

  CHAPTER VIII. - The Boss.

  CHAPTER IX. - The Tournament.

  CHAPTER X. - Beginnings of Civilization.

  CHAPTER XI. - The Yankee in Search of Adventures.

  CHAPTER XII. - Slow Torture.

  CHAPTER XIII. - Freemen!

  CHAPTER XIV. - “Defend Thee, Lord!”

  CHAPTER XV. - Sandy’s Tale.

  CHAPTER XVI. - Morgan le Fay.

  CHAPTER XVII. - A Royal Banquet.

  CHAPTER XVIII. - In the Queen’s Dungeons.

  CHAPTER XIX. - Knight Errantry as a Trade.

  CHAPTER XX. - The Ogre’s Castle.

  CHAPTER XXI. - The Pilgrims.

  CHAPTER XXII. - The Holy Fountain.

  CHAPTER XXIII. - Restoration of the Fountain.

  CHAPTER XXIV. - A Rival Magician.

  CHAPTER XXV. - A Competitive Examination.

  CHAPTER XXVI. - The First Newspaper.

  CHAPTER XXVII. - The Yankee and the King Travel Incognito.

  CHAPTER XXVIII. - Drilling the King.

  CHAPTER XXIX. - The Small-Pox Hut.

  CHAPTER XXX. - The Tragedy of the Manor-House.

  CHAPTER XXXI. - Marco.

  CHAPTER XXXII. - Dowley’s Humiliation.

  CHAPTER XXXIII. - Sixth Century Political Economy.

  CHAPTER XXXIV. - The Yankee and the King Sold as Slaves.

  CHAPTER XXXV. - A Pitiful Incident.

  CHAPTER XXXVI. - An Encounter in the Dark.

  CHAPTER XXXVII. - An Awful Predicament.

  CHAPTER XXXVIII. - Sir Launcelot and Knights to the Rescue.

  CHAPTER XXXIX. - The Yankee’s Fight with the Knights.

  CHAPTER XL. - Three Years Later.

  CHAPTER XLI. - The Interdict.


  CHAPTER XLIII. - The Battle of the Sand-Belt.

  CHAPTER XLIV. - A Postscript by Clarence.






  “I shall never see my friends again—never, never again. They will not be born for more than thirteen hundred years yet.” (page 30)

  “Merlin has wrought a spell! Merlin, forsooth! That cheap old humbug, that maundering old ass? Bosh, pure bosh, the silliest bosh in the world! Why, it does seem to me that of all the childish, idiotic, chuckle-headed, chicken-livered superstitions that ev—oh, damn Merlin!” (pages 52-53)

  To return to my anomalous position in King Arthur’s kingdom. Here I was, a giant among pigmies, a man among children, a master intelligence among intellectual moles: by all rational measurement the one and only actually great man in that whole British world; and yet there and then, just as in the remote England of my birth-time, the sheep-witted earl who could claim long descent from a king’s leman, acquired at second-hand from the slums of London, was a better man than I was. (page 83)

  There never was such a country for wandering liars; and they were of both sexes. (page 103)

  Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and 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. (page 176)

  There is no accounting for human beings. (page 219)

  Intellectual “work” is misnamed; it is a pleasure, a dissipation, and is its own highest reward. The poorest paid architect, engineer, general, author, sculptor, painter, lecturer, advocate, legislator, actor, preacher, singer, is constructively in heaven when he is at work. (page 298)

  “There is that about earthly pomps which doth ever move to reverence.” (page 335)

  “The law is clear: it doth not require the claimant to prove ye are slaves, it requireth you to prove ye are not.” (page 366)

  “Dreams that were as real as reality—delirium, of course, but so real!” (page 467)

  Published by Barnes & Noble Books 122 Fifth Avenue

  New York, NY 10011

  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was first published in 1889.

  Published in 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new Introduction, Notes, Note on the Illustrations, Biography, Chronology, Inspired By,

  Comments & Questions, and For Further Reading.

  Introduction, Notes, A Note on the Illustrations, and For Further Reading

  Copyright © 2005 by Stephen Railton.

  Note on Mark Twain, The World of Mark Twain and A Connecticut Yankee in King

  Arthurs Court, Inspired by A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and

  Comments & Questions

  Copyright © 2005 by Barnes & Noble, Inc.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  Barnes & Noble Classics and the Barnes & Noble Classics colophon are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc.

  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

  ISBN-13: 978-1-59308-210-9 ISBN-10: 1-59308-210-X

  eISBN : 978-1-411-43199-7

  LC Control Number 2005922118

  Produced and published in conjunction with:

  Fine Creative Media, Inc.

  322 Eighth Avenue

  New York, NY 10001

  Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher

  Printed in the United States of America


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  Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835. When Sam was four years old, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a small town later immortalized in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After the death of his father, twelve-year-old Sam quit school and supported his family by working as a delivery boy, a grocer’s clerk, and an assistant blacksmith until he was thirteen, when he became an apprentice printer. He worked for several newspapers, traveled throughout the country, and established himself as a gifted writer of humorous sketches. Abandoning journalism at points to work as a riverboat pilot, Clemens adventured up and down the Mississippi, learning the 1,200 miles of the river.

  During the 1860s he spent time in the West, in newspaper work and panning for gold, and traveled to Europe and the Holy Land; The Innocents Abroad (1869) and Roughing It (1872) are accounts of those experiences. In 1863 Samuel Clemens adopted a pen name, signing a sketch as “Mark Twain,” and in 1867 Mark Twain won fame with the publication of a collection of humorous writings, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches. After marrying and settling in Connecticut, Twain wrote his best-loved works:
the novels about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the nonfiction work Life on the Mississippi. Meanwhile, he continued to travel and had a successful career as a public lecturer.

  In his later years, Twain saw the world with increasing pessimism following the death of his wife and two of their three daughters. The tone of his later novels, including The Tragedy of Pudd‘nhead Wilson and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, became cynical and dark. Having failed as a publisher and suffering losses from ill-advised investments, Twain was forced by financial necessity to maintain a heavy schedule of lecturing. Though he had left school at an early age, his genius was recognized by Yale University, the University of Missouri, and Oxford University in the form of honorary doctorate degrees. He died in his Connecticut mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.


  1835 Samuel Langhorne Clemens is born prematurely in Florida, Missouri, the fourth child of John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton Clemens.

  1839 The family moves to Hannibal, the small Missouri town on the west bank of the Mississippi River that will become the model for the setting of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

  1840 American newspapers gain increased readership as urban populations swell and printing technology improves.

  1847 John Clemens dies, leaving the family in financial difficulty. Sam quits school at the age of twelve.

  1848 Sam becomes a full-time apprentice to Joseph Ament of the Missouri Courier.

  1850 Sam’s brother Orion, ten years his senior, returns to Hannibal and establishes the Journal; he hires Sam as a compositor. Steamboats become the primary means of transport on the Mississippi River.

  1852 Sam edits the failing Journal while Orion is away. After he reads local humor published in newspapers in New England and the Southwest, Sam begins printing his own humorous sketches in the Journal. He submits “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” to the Carpet-Bag of Boston, which publishes the sketch in the May issue.

  1853 Sam leaves Hannibal and begins working as an itinerant printer; he visits St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia. His brothers Orion and Henry move to Iowa with their mother.

  1854 Transcendentalism flourishes in American literary culture; Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden.

  1855 Sam works again as a printer with Orion in Keokuk, Iowa.

  1856 Sam acquires a commission from Keokuk’s Daily Post to write humorous letters; he decides to travel to South America.

  1857 Sam takes a steamer to New Orleans, where he hopes to find a ship bound for South America. Instead, he signs on as an apprentice to river pilot Horace Bixby and spends the next two years learning how to navigate a steamship up and down the Mississippi. His experiences become material for Life on the Mississippi and his tales of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

  1858 Sam’s brother Henry dies in a steamboat accident.

  1859 Samuel Clemens becomes a fully licensed river pilot.

  1861 The American Civil War erupts, putting an abrupt stop to river trade between North and South. Sam serves with a Confederate militia for two weeks before venturing to the Nevada Territory with Orion, who had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as secretary of the new Territory.

  1862 After an unsuccessful stint as a miner and prospector for gold and silver, Clemens begins reporting for the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada.

  1863 Clemens signs his name as “Mark Twain” on a humorous travel sketch printed in the Territorial Enterprise. The pseudonym , a riverboat term meaning “two fathoms deep,” connotes barely navigable water.

  1864 After challenging his editor to a duel, Twain is forced to leave Nevada and lands a job with a San Francisco newspaper . He meets Artemus Ward, a popular humorist, whose techniques greatly influence Twain’s writing.

  1865 Robert E. Lee’s army surrenders, ending the Civil War. While prospecting for gold in Calaveras County, California, Twain hears a tale he uses for a story that makes him famous; originally titled “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” it is published in New York’s Saturday Press.

  1866 Twain travels to Hawaii as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union; upon his return to California, he delivers his first public lecture, beginning a successful career as a humorous speaker.

  1867 Twain travels to New York, and then to Europe and the Holy Land aboard the steamer Quaker City; during five months abroad, he contributes to California’s largest paper, Sacramento’s Alta California, and writes several letters for the New York Tribune. He publishes a volume of stories and sketches, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches.

  1868 Twain meets and falls in love with Olivia (Livy) Langdon. His overseas writings have increased his popularity; he signs his first book contract and begins The Innocents Abroad, sketches based on his trip to Europe and the Holy Land. He embarks on a lecture tour of the American Midwest.

  1869 Twain becomes engaged to Livy, who acts as his editor from that time on. The Innocents Abroad, published as a subscription book, is an instant success, selling nearly 100,000 copies in the first three years.

  1870 Twain and Livy marry. Their son, Langdon, is born; he lives only two years.

  1871 The Clemens move to Hartford, Connecticut.

  1872 Roughing It, an account of Twain’s adventures out West, is published to enormous success. The first of Twain’s three daughters, Susy, is born. Twain strikes up a lifelong friendship with the writer William Dean Howells.

  1873 Ever the entrepreneur, Twain receives the patent for Mark Twain’s Self-Pasting Scrapbook, an invention that is a commercial success. He publishes The Gilded Age, a collaboration with his neighbor Charles Dudley Warner that satirizes the post-Civil War era.

  1874 His daughter Clara is born. The family moves into a mansion in Hartford in which they will live for the next seventeen years.

  1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is published.

  1877 Twain collaborates with Bret Harte—an author known for his use of local color and humor and for his parodies of Cooper, Dickens, and Hugo—to produce the play Ah Sin.

  1880 Twain invests in the Paige typesetter and loses thousands of dollars. He publishes A Tramp Abroad, an account of his travels in Europe the two previous years. His daughter Jean is born.

  1881 The Prince and the Pauper, Twain’s first historical romance, is published.

  1882 Twain plans to write about the Mississippi River and makes the trip from New Orleans to Minnesota to refresh his memory.

  1883 The nonfiction work Life on the Mississippi is published.

  1884 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a book Twain worked on for nearly ten years, is published in England; publication in the United States is delayed until the following year because an illustration plate is judged to be obscene.

  1885 When Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published in America —by Twain’s ill-fated publishing house, run by his nephew Charles Webster—controversy immediately surrounds the book. Twain also publishes the memoirs of his friend former President Ulysses S. Grant.

  1888 He receives an honorary Master of Arts degree from Yale University.

  1889 He publishes A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the first of his major works to be informed by a deep pessimism. He meets Rudyard Kipling, who had come to America to meet Twain, in Livy’s hometown of Elmira, New York.

  1890 Twain’s mother dies.

  1891 Financial difficulties force the Clemens family to close their Hartford mansion; they move to Berlin, Germany.

  1894 Twain publishes The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, a dark novel about the aftermath of slavery, which sells well, and Tom Sawyer Abroad, which does not. Twain’s publishing company fails and leaves him bankrupt.

  1895 Twain embarks on an ambitious worldwide lecture tour to restore his financial position.

  1896 He publishes Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc and Tom Sawyer, Detective. His daughter Susy dies of spinal meningitis.
/>   1901 Twain is awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Yale.

  1902 Livy falls gravely ill. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, a stage adaptation of the novel, opens to favorable reviews. Though he is credited with coauthorship, Twain has little to do with the play and never sees it performed. He receives an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Missouri.

  1903 Hoping to restore Livy’s health, Twain takes her to Florence, Italy.

  1904 Livy dies, leaving Twain devastated. He begins dictating an uneven autobiography that he never finishes.

  1905 Theodore Roosevelt invites Twain to the White House. Twain enjoys a gala celebrating his seventieth birthday in New York. He continues to lecture, and he addresses Congress on copyright issues.

  1906 Twain’s biographer Albert Bigelow Paine moves in with the family.

  1907 Twain travels to Oxford University to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

  1908 He settles in Redding, Connecticut, at Stormfield, the mansion that is his final home.

  1909 Twain’s daughter Clara marries; the author dons his Oxford robe for the ceremony. His daughter Jean dies.

  1910 Twain travels to Bermuda for his health. He develops heart problems and, upon his return to Stormfield, dies, leaving behind a cache of unpublished work.


  Mark Twain has taken his characters and readers on all kinds of trips. Huck and Jim on the raft—a poor white boy and an enslaved black man floating down a river looking for freedom—is the image with which modern readers are most likely to associate his work. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was his most popular novel during his lifetime, but among his contemporaries Twain’s best-selling books were literal travel books, and he was better known as a travel writer than as a novelist. Between 1869 and 1897 he published The Innocents Abroad, about his trip east to Europe and the Holy Land with the Quaker City pilgrims; Roughing It, about his earlier adventures going west to the Nevada Territory, California, and Hawaii; A Tramp Abroad, which takes readers with him to Europe again; Life on the Mississippi, in which he returns to the river he had grown up beside and worked on as a steamboat pilot; and finally Following the Equator, in which he travels around the whole world. He imagined even more amazing trips in the books he began but could not finish during the last dozen years of his life: on a comet to heaven, across a germ-filled drop of water under a microscope, through the bloodstream of a drunken tramp. But none of his characters take a stranger trip than Hank Morgan, who gets hit on the head in a factory in Hartford in 1879 and wakes up to find himself just outside Camelot in the year 528.