Portland Morning Oregonian [unsigned]
1890: March 30

Mark Twain's new book, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," is indeed a strange conceit, quite up to the standard that Mr. Clemens in former works has led us to expect. He transports an ingenious, hard-headed, matter-of-fact Connecticut Yankee of the present day to the court of King Arthur, and describes his adventures in the language of the present, while making all the other characters talk in the King Arthur of the Round Table style. The incongruity of ideas which constantly follows from this juxtaposition of the life and manners of the sixth century with the language and civilization of the nineteenth century, is a never ending source of amusement. The Yankee has all the inventions of the present age at his finger ends, and uses his knowledge to create a reputation for himself as a magician, which he does, much to the discomfiture of Merlin. There is a strong vein of satire against monarchical institutions running all through the book, and some of the author's descriptions of the tortures and punishments that were inflicted on the people for the smallest crimes to which their wretched poverty drove them have a deep pathos. The whole social system, in fact, is held up to ridicule, not a few of the keenest shafts being directed against the principles on which monarchical government is based and against the all-powerful influence of a corrupt church. By the great majority of people, however, the book will be read for its quaint and unapproachable humor, and of this there is an abundance, the clever illustrations of Daniel C. Beard bringing out the point of many of the comical situations in which the hero finds himself. Mr. Beard is as great a humorist in his way as Twain himself, and the way in which he often enlarges upon the author's ideas is very acceptable and adds much to the interesting incongruity of the whole.

The book is handsomely printed and bound in cloth by Charles L. Webster & Co., New York, in square octavo, at $3 per copy. It is sold only by subscription, and Mr. Hoffman, of this city, is the local agent.

Homepage Next Page