OUR FIRST EVER ONLINE THEMED BOOK FAIR IS COMING SOON...
‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’, in <I>The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine</I>. Vol. XXXIX , New Series Vol. XVII, Nos 1-6 (November 1889-April 1890), pp. 74-83.
First edition. Twain conceived, wrote, and then revised his celebrated satirical novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court over a period of five years between 1884 and 1889. A final typescript was prepared in April 1889, which Twain revised over the summer of that year, discovering a number of errors and unauthorised amendments, which had been introduced by the typist, in the process. Some of these were then corrected by the publisher, Frederick J. Hall, as the book was typeset, but a significant number escaped detection and persisted into the published text.
Meanwhile, as book was being typeset, ‘Twain selected four excerpts from his story for publication in the November 1889 Century Magazine. He arranged for a second typescript to be made from the first, revised that typescript and supplied new passages to connect the excerpts. While most of the changes in these selections were made strictly for the sake of magazine publication, some dozen revisions were literary improvements which, because of Hall’s production schedule, Mark Twain could not incorporate in the book’ (M. Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, edited by Bernard L. Stein (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983), p. 478). The text published here appears not to have been published elsewhere, but was drawn upon by Stein when he was preparing his authoritative text published in University of California Press’ edition of the works of Twain.
The six images which illustrate Twain’s story in the Century Magazine also mark the beginning of Twain’s creative partnership with Dan Beard, who would become ‘Twain’s favorite and most frequently chosen illustrator. [...] Always interested in both the pictorial and in collaborative projects, Twain found a marriage of both in his synergistic work with Dan Beard. At once a partner, a friend, and an inspiration, Dan Beard’s art and influence helped Twain produce some of his most memorable and impactful pieces as well as to reconsider the role of illustration in his texts’ (K.E. Bishop ‘Illustrating Mark Twain: Daniel Carter Beard and His Influences’ in The Mark Twain Annual, vol. 10 (2012), p. 109). A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was the first of Twain’s work that Beard illustrated, and Twain – who had frequently been disappointed by previous illustrators – praised Beard’s work with the words, ‘[h]old me under permanent obligations. What luck it was to find you! There are hundreds of artists that could illustrate any other book of mine, but there was only one who could illustrate this one. Yes, it was a fortunate hour that I went netting for lightning bugs and caught a meteor. Live forever!’ (quoted in A.B. Paine (ed.), Mark Twain's Letters (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1917), II, p. 511).