A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889 — An engineer named Hank Morgan is transported to the time of King Arthur, where he is able to pass as a magician due to his knowledge of technology.

Comments: Online text at Project Gutenberg.  Satire of chivalry, romantic notions of the past.  See H. Bruce Franklin’s commentary in Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century.  Franklin notes that most do not think of Twain as a science fiction writer, but Yankee is a “classic in the genre.”  He compares it to another science fiction piece by Twain, The Great Dark (unfinished); both stories explore the relationship between dreaming and waking and employ the time travel device in such a way that the narrator is twice dislocated from normal time

Franklin notes that Yankee continues a theme in conventional nineteenth science fiction of “identity transference” (see also Twain’s essay, “Mental Telegraphy,” 1891).  Yankee also involves a futile attempt to establish “advanced industrial capitalism” in a medieval setting; Franklin notes that “since this is not how things did happen, according to our history, and because capitalism is established by Hank without a thorough anti-feudal cultural revolution, the original time continuum reasserts itself through a chain of events initiated by feudal knights battling to monopolize control of a railroad on the stock market.”

Author: Wikipedia: “Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist.”

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About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1926 and earlier, alternate history, capitalism/Marxism, dreams/hypnosis, humor, identity/authenticity, satire, time/history/causality. Bookmark the permalink.

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