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

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

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

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.

Excerpt

Life being all too short, I have not tried to read every piece of fiction in English dealing with travel to the past; nor have I referred to most of those I have read. What I have included are those things I have found useful; I make no pretense to exhaustiveness. Since my interest is in ideas rather than in bibliographic or textual criticism, I have used those editions that were at hand or easily available, in spite of my awareness that editions of science fiction are often fleeting and temporary things. Because I hate endnotes and publishers despise footnotes, I have referred in the text to the list of Works Cited at the end of the book. When I have cited such standard works as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, unless there is a particular reason, I have mentioned chapter number only; and when, in passing, I have nodded respectfully at the travels of Gulliver, the wake of Finnegan, or the afterlife of Dante, I have generally trusted the common culture of the community and spared myself, the reader, and the typesetter.

When no confusion can result, I have used commonly understood short forms in text and works cited: SF for science fiction; ASF for Astounding Science Fiction and its later avatar Analog Science Fact/Science Fiction; Amazing for Amazing Stories; F&SF for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; IASFM for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine; and, according to whim and rhythm, Yankee or Connecticut Yankee for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. ("Yankee" refers to Hank Morgan, "Yankee" to the book.)

There turns out to be no space for an extensive and annotated bibliography of SF about travel to the past, articles about SF about travel to the past, and the like; I have saved all that material and am in the process of compiling an additional (bibliographic) volume on the subject.

I am greatly indebted to many people and groups of people: to the College of Sciences and Liberal Studies . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.