The book that will be discussed, via Zoom, on Wednesday, July 21, will be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain.
The novel, which was published in 1889, tells the story of Hank Morgan, a firearms manufacturer from nineteenth century Hartford, CT, who, because of a blow to the head, is transported to sixth century England. Morgan uses his knowledge of nineteenth century science and technology to amaze King Arthur and his courtiers, as well as the superstitious peasantry, eventually becoming the second most powerful man in England, after King Arthur. Morgan tries to ‘improve’ life in the sixth century by applying modern ideas and methods, but he is ultimately unsuccessful.
Twain uses Morgan’s adventures as a vehicle for satirizing the romanticization of chivalry, touting democratic values, and questioning the impact of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution on nineteenth century America.
Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was a writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He is perhaps best known for writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and is considered to be one of the great American writers and humorists. Twain, who was fascinated by science and technology, was a close friend of the inventor Nikola Tesla. He patented three inventions, was an avid proponent of fingerprinting, and lost much of his money by investing extensively in new technologies.
Twain himself described A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court “as an uncommonly bully book.” Others have found it to be “one of the greatest satires in American literature,” and have called Twain “the funniest literary American writer.”
John Markham will lead the discussion, which will take place via Zoom, on Wednesday, July 21, beginning at 7 p.m. Cannon Beach Reads plans to meet via Zoom on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. until more information about vaccination levels and variants of the virus is available. If you would like to join the discussion, contact Joe Bernt at firstname.lastname@example.org. New members are always welcome.