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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 4 Jul 1994 14:14:12 EST
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I followed this thread with interest.  I have always wondered myself what
SLC's intentions were with regard to the title.  We know that the first
American edition was titled "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".
We know that the first English editor was titled "A Yankee at the Court of
King Arthur".  We must assume that SLC approved of both.  I made a brief
attempt to determine how the differing titles were born.  Here's what I

According to the MTP's 1979 UC Press Edition (CY), the original title on
the MS was "The tale of the Lost Land" (canceled in pencil. See CY, 628).
Apparently, the original MS does not have any other title. (See CY,

The two typescript copies made for the printer at Charles L. Webster and
Co. in April of 1889 (using the original MS as source) may have had the
title "The Yankee In the Court of King Arthur"; this inferred by a letter

>from Fred J. Hall to Clemens on May 8, 1889 as Hall refers to the work
by that title.  (See CY, 573).

The copy read by E.C. Steadman in early July, 1889 may have been had the
title "A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court".  This I inferred
>from E.C. Steadman's letter to Clemens of July 7, 1889 in which Steadman
refers to the book as "Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court". (See
CY, 519).  Did the title change between the time Hall received the MS and
the time Steadman read it?

Andrew Chatto's letter to Clemens of December 30, 1889 seems to imply that
the title was further refined to "A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur"
by the time Chatto began to receive text for his edition around September,
1889 and that this new title was intended for use in both the American and
English editions..  I quote Chatto as he refers to the English edition:

         " will see that not a word of yours has been cut
         out or altered, except as regards keeping the title to your
         original wording 'A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur' which is
         shorter and I think more easily grasped by the British public."

I interpret this to mean that Chatto was assuring Clemens he had been
faithful to the proofs and texts that he had been sent from Webster and
Co. including the title which was changed NOT for the English edition but
for the American Edition.  It must be remembered that the English edition
had to proceed the American or else the English copyright be lost.  Chatto
must have known that the American edition would appear as "A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur's Court".  Apparently, he also knew this to be a
last minute change from what had been planned.

One other reference might helpful as to SLC's original intention of the
title, that being A.B. Paine's reference to the book in his collection of
Mark Twain's letters.  Paine refers to the book as "A Connecticut Yankee
at King Arthur's Court" (See MTL, 510).  Had Paine been accustomed to
hearing the book referred to in this way by its author?  If Justin Kaplan
has erred, then one must say he is in good company.

Paul Berkowitz