The 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Some early editions are titled A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.
The novel is a satirical comedy that looks at 6th-Century England and its medieval culture through the eyes of Hank Morgan, a Yankee engineer from Connecticut, who is accidentally transported back in time to the court of King Arthur, where he fools the inhabitants of that time into thinking he is a magician - and soon uses his knowledge of modern technology to become a "magician" in earnest, stunning the English of the Early Middle Ages with such feats as demolitions, fireworks and the shoring up of a holy well. He attempts to modernize the past, but in the end he is unable to prevent the death of Arthur and an interdict against him by the Catholic Church of the time, which grows fearful of his power.
Twain wrote the book as a burlesque of Romantic notions of chivalry after being inspired by a dream in which he was a knight himself, and severely inconvenienced by the weight and cumbersome nature of his armor. Its main thrust is a satire of romanticized ideas of chivalry, and of the idealization of the Middle Ages common in the novels of Sir Walter Scott and other 19th century literature. Twain had a particular dislike for Scott, blaming his kind of romanticism of battle for the southern states deciding to fight the American Civil War. He writes in Life on the Mississippi:
"It was Sir Walter that made every gentleman in the South a Major or a Colonel, or a General or a Judge, before the war; and it was he, also, that made these gentlemen value these bogus decorations. For it was he that created rank and caste down there, and also reverence for rank and caste, and pride and pleasure in them. [...] Sir Walter had so large a hand in making Southern character, as it existed before the war, that he is in great measure responsible for the war."
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi.