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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) (The Oxford Mark Twain)
by Mark Twain
ISBN 0195114108 / 9780195114102 / 0-19-511410-8
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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One of Twain's best-loved stories next to his classic tales of Huck and Tom, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court vibrates with slapstick comedy and serious social commentary. While Hank Morgan, Twain's time-displaced Yankee traveler, keeps up a steady stream of flippancies, founding the first tabloid, the Camelot Weekly Hosannah and Literary Volcano, and organizing a game of baseball between armor-clad knights, he also keeps up a steady commentary on the social mores of King Arthur's court, criticizing the hereditary social classes and state church still strong in the Victorian England of Twain's own day, and championing women's suffrage and union labor organization. Widely regarded as one of the first science fiction novels, this edition also features an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut, our own twentieth century master of satiric social commentary and science fiction. It also features the original illustrations by Dan Beard, chosen by Twain himself to illustrate the book, whose drawings brilliantly mix buffoonery with sharp social satire: sharp-eyed readers, for instance, will spot that the model for Merlin, Hank's nemesis, is none other than Tennyson, whose Idylls of the King made the romantic vision of King Arthur's court nearly a sacred Victorian cult. By turns side-splittingly funny and somberly thought-provoking, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is Twain at his finest. [via]