Animated illustration from
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT
courtesy of Kent Rasmussen
|Well, my book is written -- let it go. But
if it were only to write over again there wouldn't be so many things left
out. They burn in me; & they keep multiplying & multiplying; but
now they can't ever be said. And besides, they would require a library --
& a pen warmed up in hell.
- letter to William D. Howells, 22 Sept. 1889 (referring to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
Illustration by Dan Beard for 1899 edition of CONNECTICUT YANKEE
|The book was not written for America, it was written for England. So many
Englishmen have done their sincerest best to teach us something for our
betterment, that it seems to me high time that some of us should substantially
recognize the good intent by trying to pry up the English nation to a little
higher level of manhood in turn.
- letter to Andrew Chatto, 16 July 1889
The time is ripe for its appearance. All Europe, beneath its scum of hereditary
kings and royal personages and aristocratic notions generally, is pretty thoroughly
Americanized, and America, with its floating scum of fools who are fond of aping
aristocratic ideas and actions, is pretty well Europeanized. Besides, I wanted
to say some spiteful things in this book and when a man has that to do it is
apt to make him hurry.
- interview "'Mark Twain' at Home," New York World, 12 January 1890, p. 14.
Everything I have ever written has had a serious philosophy or truth as its
basis. I would not write a humorous work merely to be funny. In Yankee in
King Arthur's Court, for instance, the fun is all natural to the situations,
but the underlying purpose is a satire on the divine right of kings.
- interview "Mark Twain Tells Literary Secret and Many Other Things," Baltimore News, 10 May 1907, p. 13.
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