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Wes Britton <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Mar 2011 18:54:08 -0400
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Anyone here can participate in this discussion; the only exception is that only users of the Lib. of Congress program for the blind can use the download link. 


Accessible world’s Special program Series  Presents Ira Fistelle Discussing  A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Tuesday, March 29, 2011


If you were suddenly transported to an earlier time and place, how would you cope? Would you be curious about life then and decide there was  nothing you
could  do and accept your circumstances?  In a time travel experience like no other, that is what happens to Hank Morgan. After  receiving a blow on the
head, he embarks upon a time travel journey  he could never have imagined in his wildest fantasy. Part, satire, alternate history, science fiction and
humor too, this is Mark Twain at his best. Following the success of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a huge  undertaking, but Twain combined  the
above elements and ends by telling quite a tale.  
What is  Hank’s place in this society?  How much should he contribute? ? Will he be accepted with all his strange clothes, manners, speech, and abilities?
After  all, for him this is truly a whole new world. What talents or knowledge can he share? Of what benefit is a future   for people who have no need
for it?    Surprises abound. He gets a new lease on life and decides to make of this new opportunity a better life for everyone he can. With more adventures
and misunderstandings to come, Morgan takes us on a trip  to a time of daring deeds and great accomplishments. Is this a tale only, or is Mark Twain, 
the philosopher,    saying something important about progress, technology, and the economy, slavery, and religion?  

Join Ira Fistelle, noted teacher and radio talk show host as he leads a discussion of a book that will keep you on the edge of your seats. As Hank makes
choices and accepts new opportunities, ask yourself, “What would I do if this happened to me?” With Ira, you will gain in knowledge and fun as he explores
and explains this novel.

Below, you will find some additional information about the plot. The Nls information will follow. If you prefer, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court
can be found on  

A Connecticut Yankee derives its brilliance, its humor and its themes from one source: a juxtaposition of times and its attendant values. Just as the mythic
King Arthur embodies his age, the age of romantic chivalry, Hank Morgan is a type figure of the nineteenth century man‹ "nearly barren of sentiment," freedom
minded, shrewd and technocratic. Within this context several topics and themes recur: 
The Church

Twain's Yankee's greatest fear and ultimate enemy is the Roman Catholic Church, which to him embodies the evils of manipulating religion for political purposes.
He states that "the established church is only a political machine," bereft of the spiritual functions that it purports to serve. Hank accuses the church
for shoring up the ills of the sixth century society: superstition; hereditary nobility; social inequality; the meek subservience of the masses to authority
and tradition.

Slavery‹Slavery appears prominently in the work as a social ill that Hank seeks to abolish. The scenes Twain writes about the oppression and dehumanization
of slaves are drawn largely from Russian and German sources, but also share its universal points with slavery in the United States. Hank and King Arthur
become slaves themselves and are made empathetic to the plights of slaves; Twain uses their story as a condemnation of those who can claim the morality
of a matter only on a superficial level, but who cannot move to action unless prodded by real experience.

Merlin (magician) v. Hank (technocrat)

In the book, Merlin represents superstition, bogus magic and the old order while Hank is the banner-bearer of "the magic of science," of civilization and
progress. Their constant rivalry is the embodiment of the larger social project that Hank is trying to achieve in making England into an industrialized
nation. But in proclaiming the eclipse and in the restoration of the Holy Fountain, Hank uses the same reliance on superstition that Merlin does against
him. Hank's 'industrial miracles' can be just as manipulative as Merlin's smoke-and-mirrors hoaxes. Although Merlin appears to be soundly defeated each
time he challenges Hank's authority, he gets the last laugh as Hank's civilization destroys itself. 
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Twain, Mark. Read by Rick Foucheux. Reading time 12 hours 27 minutes.
Classic satire about a nineteenth-century New England factory worker who is 
knocked unconscious and transported back to the year 528. Hank Morgan 
awakens in King Arthur's court in Britain, where he attempts to improve 
living conditions by introducing modern inventions and democratic ideas. For 
senior high and older readers. 1889.
Download A Connecticut Yankee in
King Arthur's Court, DB52560

Presenter: Ira Fistell 

Date: Tuesday,March 29, 2011

Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 7:00 PM MDT, 8:00 PM CDT, 9:00 PM EDT
         and elsewhere in the world Thursday 01:00 GMT.

Approximately 15 minutes prior to the event start time; go to the Accessible World Auditorium at:

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Those with microphones can interact audibly with the presenters and others in the virtual audience. To speak to us, hold down the control key and let up
to listen. If no microphone is available, you may text chat with the attendees..

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Dr. Wesley Britton

Co-host, Dave White Presents