A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Daniel Carter Beard. New York: Charles L. Webster & Co., 1889. First Edition. Very Good.
First edition, first state with "S"-like ornament between "The" and "King" to p. 59. Original publisher's three-quarter brown morocco and pebbled cloth, four raised bands to spine, compartments ruled and lettered in gilt, red marbled endpapers, and marbled text block edges. Very good, with some rubbing to morocco and cloth, 2" split to top of front joint, corners worn to boards, previous owner's ownership label to front pastedown and signature in pencil to front flyleaf, a touch of staining to top front and rear board corners and top corners of a few pages at rear, some fading to marbled edges, and page edges lightly toned. Overall, a solid copy in the scarce publisher's morocco. BAL 3429. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is Twain's satire of the portrayal of chivalry in the Middle Ages in 19th century literature. The novel begins when Hank, an engineer from Connecticut, is transported back in time to King Arthur's court. Immediately ridiculed for his strange appearance, Hank is sentenced to death on what happens to be the date of a historic solar eclipse. Using his knowledge of the historic event, Hank threatens to blot out the sun if his execution plans move forward, and when the sun indeed goes dark at midday, the entire kingdom begins to revere him as a mystical figure, giving him the second most powerful position in the kingdom. The power goes to his head, and he tries to bring medieval England into the modern times that he knows, eventually coming to terms with the reality that one man alone cannot accomplish this task. Notably, the book is often viewed as a transitional part of Twain's career as a writer, including elements of humor that were often found in his earlier work and the darker elements of his later works.