Book Cover of The Death Disk

The Death Disk

by Mark Twain

Mark Twain's "Death Disk" was inspired by the historical account of the execution of Colonel John Poyer of Pembroke, Wales on April 21, 1649. A small child was given the responsibility of selecting which of three rebel leaders of a civil uprising would receive a death penalty. The unfortunate fate was given to Poyer who was shot in front of a large crowd at Covent Garden. In 1883 Twain read about the child's role in the execution in a copy of Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, (Wiley & Putnam, 1845, pp. 344-345). In his personal notebook, Twain's imagination led him to remark, "By dramatic accident, it could have been his own child" (Notebook #22, reprinted in Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume III, 1883-1891, p. 14). In December 1883, Twain wrote his friend William Dean Howells, "Now let's write a tragedy" (Mark Twain-Howells Letters, Volume II, p. 455). In his letter to Howells, he included the manuscript of the closing scene where a young girl unknowingly gives her own father a death sentence. Twain's original version ended in the father's execution.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1902

Author

Mark Twain image

Mark Twain

United States

Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory. Twain patented thre...

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