Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Its really amusing how life works out.  I had totally planned on reading another book but somehow I started to read A Connecticut Yankee.  Mark Twain is a genius and is funny as hell.  This is one of the first time-travel books ever published and it's great.  The story follows the adventure of a Yankee from Connecticut who mysteriously ends up in England during the middle ages.  This is not a kids book akin to Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Fin.  It's a book full of political intrigue and grown up thoughts.  Twain was a republican and very much hated the British noble by birth or fealty to a sovereign.  It was released in 1889 but the spirit of 1776 (American Revolution) bleeds through this book.  Here is a great example of his republican spirit:

The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags—that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it....

Another thing I very much enjoyed in this book are Twain's not so veiled cracks at the Catholic church.  He did not like the Church and did not hide from that fact.  Actually the whole book is about debunking the Monarchy.  The main characters goal is to turn Camelot (this perceived moral pinnacle of English life) into America.  If you think that would be a good thing or not I'll leave up to the reader.  It's quite clear that this book has influenced so many other time-travel books.  Many of its themes have been explored by so many other books that a few times I had wondered if I had already read this. 

I really loved this work of fiction.

The next book I am going to read is:

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