Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Your Left, Sir Knight

I read "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" when I was about 10 or 12 years old, and I feel like I should read it again.  If you are not familiar with it, I am not surprised.  Written by Mark Twain, it was published in 1879 under his real name, Samuel L. Clemens.  It was not his most popular novel.

"Yankee" involved a 19th century engineer  (Hank) being magically transported in time and space back to Arthur's Camelot, where he then proceeds to introduce modern technology and culture to midieval England.  Eventually, he turns against all of the knights of England, and battles with them in an apocalyptic landscape of death and destruction.  (Walls of dead bodies decaying in the heat, as Hank and his cohorts are trapped in their stronghold by them...)

It is not a real happy book, and I have forgotten many of the details of the story in the intervening 40 years, or so, since I read it.  But, the one thing I remember distinctly is that Hank introduces the bicycle to ancient England.  At one point, a group of knights in armor rides into battle...aboard bikes!

That image has stuck in my mind for four decades.  The idea of midieval knights, in full armor, pedaling bicycles into battle just flipped a switch in my young mind.

That may be one reason I find such romance in riding a bike.


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As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.