The Connecticut Yankee in the Twentieth Century: Travel to the Past in Science Fiction

Synopsis

The first examples of travel to the past appear early in the 19th century, but it was not until the publication of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court that we see a hero taking advantage of a combination of hindsight and advances in technology to build an empire in the past. Concentrating on travel to the past, this study details, both in Twain's seminal work and in its science fiction successors, the various roles played by the traveller to the past--nostalgic, tourist, imperialist, Oedipal hero and existential isolate--and attempts to relate these roles both to the rest of Twain's work and to the world-view of contemporary America.