A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

From Academic Kids

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court book cover
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court book cover

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a novel by United States humorist and writer Mark Twain, first published in 1889.

It is worth noting that this work may be the first example of time travel in literature.

The novel tells the tale of Hank Morgan, a 19th-century citizen of Hartford, Connecticut who awakens to find himself mysteriously transported back in time to early medieval England at the time of the legendary King Arthur in 528 CE. Hank uses his advanced technological knowledge and Yankee ingenuity to advance the extremely superstitious, brutal and ignorant old English society and secure high position for himself, but later falls victim to modern society's own darker side.

With its anachroistic technology, such as telegraph, the bicycle etc;, the book has a claim to being the first steampunk tale

While parts of the book poke fun at contemporary society, the main thrust of the book is a satire of romanticized ideas of chivalry and the idealization of the Middle Ages such as was common in 19th century literature, most notably perhaps in the novels of Sir Walter Scott.


This famous story has been adapted to stage, featured motion pictures, and animated cartoons numerous times since the beginning of the 20th century.

It has also inspired many variations and parodies. One of many is the 1995 Walt Disney Studios adaption of the book into a feature film under the name A Kid in King Arthur's Court. As the title suggests, the protagonist of the Disney film is considerably younger than Twain's original character.

Sam Raimi's 1993 horror film Army of Darkness incorporates many elements of the Twain story: the protagonist is sent back in time to a medieval setting, where he uses his modern knowledge of chemistry and technology to fight a horde of undead.

Another take is the Ducktales episode "Sir Gyro de Gearloose" where Gyro Gearloose goes back in time to fulfill his dream of becoming an knight in the time of his world's version of Camelot and abandon his career as an inventor. However, he finds his engineering skill still makes him important and incurs the jealousy of the resident wizard who decides to betray the kingdom to an enemy in revenge. However, he realizes his mistake and joins with Gyro to create a device to defeat the enemy that needs his magic to power it. They part with renewed confidence in each other's skills and their importance.

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