As to eclipses -- Alan Gribben's new reference volume (reviewed here a few
weeks ago) comes in very handy. Gribben lists 5 books under his "eclipse"
entry in the index that may have inspired the episode in CONNECTICUT
YANKEE, including the writings of Christopher Columbus and H. R. Haggard.
Gribben also cites previous research on the eclipse episode.
As to watches -- Clemens did at one time own stock in the Fredonia watch
company. An essay about that investment is online here --
The above essay was written by Dave Thomson. I was informed yesterday that
all of Thomson's Mark Twain collection has now been delivered to the Mark
Twain Museum in Hannibal, Missouri -- perhaps including the sample of the
On Mon, Aug 1, 2022 at 8:57 AM Michael Torregrossa, Medieval in Popular
Culture <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I believe some film adaptations give him an almanac, but my memory might be
> On Mon, Aug 1, 2022 at 9:44 AM Alan Kitty <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > I took it for granted that Hank was obsessed with History, Science, Time,
> > and was armed with a photographic memory. Those qualities defined my
> > father, so it wasn’t a stretch. Yet, even as a child, I laughed at the
> > absurdity of the idea.
> > Since it is fiction, I suspended disbelief long ago. But I find that
> > particular work, despite its stretches, more likely than the alternative
> > realities of our own times. Truth is stranger than fiction.
> > On Mon, Aug 1, 2022 at 8:53 AM Carl Chimi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > I can only say that even as a kid I never believed that anyone could
> > > remember such a thing so specifically. And react to it with such
> > precision
> > > in a time when the whole idea of clocks was so relatively primitive.
> > But I
> > > can’t remember. Did Hank have a watch and an almanac (with historical
> > > eclipse information in it) with him?
> > >
> > > Carl
> > >
> > > Sent from my iPhone
> > >
> > > > On Aug 1, 2022, at 8:43 AM, Daniel P. B. Smith <[log in to unmask]>
> > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the narrator says
> > > all of a sudden I stumbled on the very thing, just by luck. I knew that
> > the
> > > only total eclipse of the sun in the first half of the sixth century
> > > occurred on the 21st of June, A.D. 528, O.S., and began at 3 minutes
> > after
> > > 12 noon.”
> > > >
> > > > When I read the book as a kid, I just took this at face value; and of
> > > course Mark Twain didn’t have any problems using unlikely coincidences
> > > his other books.
> > > >
> > > > But since then I’ve always wondered: are we really supposed to
> > > this? Or was Mark Twain poking deadpan fun at unbelievable coincidences
> > in
> > > literature?
> > >
> > --
> > *Alan Kitty, DGExecutive Director*
> > *Mark Twain Education Society*
> > [log in to unmask]
> > www.marktwaineducation.org
> Michael A. Torregrossa (he/his/him), M.A.
> *Founder, The Association for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching
> of the Medieval in Popular Culture:
> *Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of
> Britain: https://kingarthurforever.blogspot.com/
> *Founder, Northeast Alliance for Scholarship on the Fantastic:
> Area Chair, Monsters and the Monstrous Area, Northeast Popular
> Culture/American Culture Association: