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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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Connecticut Yankee first editionFirst U.S. edition
By Mark Twain
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original title
A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur

Also known as
A Yankee in King Arthur's Court

First publication
1889, England

Literature form

Literary, science fiction, satire

Writing language

Author's country
United States

Approx. 120,000 words

Notable lines

It was in Warwick Castle that I came across the curious stranger whom I am going to talk about. He attracted me by three things: his candid simplicity, his marvelous familiarity with ancient armor, and the restfulness of his company—for he did all the talking.

— First lines, "A Word of Explanation"

I am an American. I was born and reared in Hartford, in the State of Connecticut—anyway, just over the river, in the country. So I am a Yankee of the Yankees—and practical; yes, and nearly barren of sentiment, I suppose—or poetry, in other words.

— First lines, "The Stranger's Story"

You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. 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.


Words realize nothing, vivify nothing to you, unless you have suffered in your own person the thing which the words try to describe. There are wise people who talk ever so knowingly and complacently about "the working classes," and satisfy themselves that a day's hard intellectual work is very much harder than a day's hard manual toil, and is righteously entitled to much bigger pay. Why, they really think that, you know, because they know all about the one, but haven't tried the other.


A man is a man, at bottom. Whole ages of abuse and oppression cannot crush the manhood clear out of him. Whoever thinks it a mistake is himself mistaken. Yes, there is plenty good enough material for a republic in the most degraded people that ever existed—


How empty is theory in presence of fact!


Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.


You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.


"A bugle?... It is the king! The drawbridge, there! Man the battlements!—turn out the—"
He was getting up his last "effect"; but he never finished it.

— Last lines


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