A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Mark Twain

Illustrated by David Hughes

Introduced by Fred Kaplan

A hilarious novel from the master of satire and irony. Factory manager Hank finds himself transported to legendary Camelot, but soon discovers that King Arthur’s court isn’t quite as chivalrous as he thought.


Hank Morgan is a confident, practical 19th-century American managing 1,000 men in a Connecticut factory, until a fellow nicknamed Hercules knocks him unconscious. When he awakes, Hank is sitting beneath an oak tree surrounded by beautiful countryside. Before long, he is up the tree, seeking refuge from an over-zealous jousting knight. After careful negotiation the two set out together, Hank humouring his armoured companion, whom he assumes is from a circus or an asylum, apparently called Camelot. Only when a pageboy mentions that he was born in 513 does our hero discover that he has transmigrated, body and soul, to the court of King Arthur.

Production Details

Bound in printed and blocked cloth

Set in Bulmer

352 pages

Frontispiece and 9 colour illustrations

Plain slipcase

˝ x 6¼˝

‘Preposterously funny’

‘A central document in American intellectual history’ 

  1. Henry Nash Smith

One of Mark Twain’s finest comic novels, A Connecticut Yankee, adapted twice for film and once staged as a Broadway musical, is a satire on both contemporary politics and nostalgia for medieval mores.

Hank is an entrepreneur, certain that he can and should transform Camelot into a modern democratic society, free from superstition and slavery, enriched by science. Unsurprisingly, his mission meets with resistance – resistance that is ultimately cataclysmic, forcing Hank to change his view of humankind: ‘What this folk needed, then, was a Reign of Terror and a guillotine, and I was the wrong man for them.’ This Folio edition is introduced by Fred Kaplan, a Twain biographer and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He comments that, while ‘preposterously funny’, this novel is no laughing matter. Rather it is a brilliant display of Twain’s ability to drive home serious, often unpalatable ideas, through humour and irony.

Twain considered illustrations for his novels with great care, knowing their importance to his readers. We hope that he would have approved of David Hughes’s bold interpretation of A Connecticut Yankee. His coloured pen-and-ink drawings and endpaper designs capture wonderfully the absurdity of the narrative and its excoriating take on human life.

About Mark Twain

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835, in the ‘almost invisible’ village of Florida, Missouri, and raised in Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the great Mississippi river. He worked as a printer’s apprentice, steamboat pilot and miner before beginning to write sketches and stories under the pen name ‘Mark Twain’. He married Olivia Langdon in 1870, and the couple moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Twain wrote his most famous novels. He published prolifically until his death and cultivated both a public persona – complete with white suit and cigar – and an immediately recognisable tone: deadpan, colloquial, unselfconscious. His later years were marked by the death of his wife and two of his children, and by disastrous investments, but he remained beloved by the reading public all over the world.

About David Hughes

David Hughes is an artist and illustrator. He studied at Twickenham College of Technology, earning a first class honours degree in illustration, and went on to work as a graphic designer at Granada Television in Manchester. He left Granada in 1985 to become a full-time illustrator, earning commissions from Walker Books, the Observer Magazine and The New Yorker, among others. In 1999 he won the D&AD Silver Award for his illustrations for Othello, and in 2010 Walking the Dog, his graphic novel about the daily life of an illustrator, won the Association of Illustrators Critic’s Award. For The Folio Society he has illustrated Count Belisarius (2010), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (2012) and Juvenal’s The Sixteen Satires (2014).