Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: Arthurian Legend, Armour, Slavery and Catholicism College

Written in 1889, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is regarded by many scholars as the most important of American Arthuriana. Twain strips Arthurian legend of much of its glory and grandeur, thereby making it possible for his contemporaries to identify with his main character; Hank Morgan. However, in doing so Twain also diverted from history quite a bit. Most, if not all, of the social structure of King Arthur’s court is based on Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, which is the first real account of the King Arthur legend. Twain also mentions the Grail quest that is central to Malory’s work. But Twain also talks about knights clad in iron and the British nation being enslaved by a tyrannical absolute monarch. Furthermore, he blames much of the people’s suffering in the Catholic church. Although the Arthurian court and the Grail quest are A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is in line with Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, Twain diverted from history with regard to armor, slavery, and Catholicism.

It was not until the 15th century that the legend as we know it appeared in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. In Le Morte d’Arthur, Arthur is a fearless leader who has a trusty advisor in the form of...

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