It’s that time again! On Wednesday we’ll be discussing Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for Book Club Classics, so today I’m giving a brief introduction to Twain and his writing. There will also be a few of the brightest burning questions from when I was reading the book, just in case you’re looking for some topics to discuss in your own post for the link up!
Samuel Langhorne Clemens has been known by many names: William Faulkner considered him “the father of American literature,” and he, of course, gave himself the moniker Mark Twain. He also wore many hats throughout his life, including that of steamboat worker, author, journalist, abolitionist, and entrepreneur. While I still haven’t read any of the novels that he’s most known for like his stories about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (they’re on my list, I swear!), I don’t think I could have survived as an English major without being exposed to him at all.
The things that I most love about Twain are his witty satire, the topics that he chooses to write about, and his unapologetic way of looking at something and telling it like it is. You never feel like Twain is worrying about being politically correct or fretting over who his opinions might offend; in his novel, Pudd’nhead Wilson, he deals with race and the nature versus nurture debate in a ridiculous but compelling way, and it’s fantastic. Twain’s language is colloquial and imprecise, and I particularly like that, for all intents and purposes, he lived his stories. He traveled down the Mississippi River on a steamboat, so he was basically a boss.
Instead of giving you a complete history, here are three interesting things that I know about Mark Twain:
1. He was not the best entrepreneur in the world. In fact, he lost pretty much all of his money from writing trying to develop a mechanical typewriter.
2. In case you haven’t read anything written by Twain yet, he was a huge supporter of the abolition movement and rubbed elbows with the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass.
3. Twain was born right after Halley’s Comet passed by the Earth, and he died after it showed up again. He predicted it, too!
Now, as promised, a few questions that kept me up at night about A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Take ’em, leave ’em, use ’em to write your own blog post and link it up on Wednesday… Yeah, do that last one! 🙂
- How did Hank never think about the effects he could be having on the future of England?
- Do you believe Hank’s disdain for the government of King Arthur’s court parallel Twain’s own feelings toward 19th century American politics?
- Which was your favorite of the characters from the court of King Arthur?
- Why do you think Twain chose to make Hank a Yankee engineer instead of a doctor, politician, or even an author?
- Which of Hank’s enterprises from the future do you think would be most significant?
As always, if you’re a blogger who wants to read along this year, you should seriously look into The Classics Club, so you can create a classics reading goal of your own. Feel free to check out my list for some inspiration to get you started! We should also be besties on Goodreads.
I’ll see you here on Wednesday for our discussion on Twain’s quite unique novel and a little link up! I’ll bring the coffee if someone else springs for the donuts. We can take turns. 😉