Bizarre Author Deaths II

Following on from last week, here is the second instalment of my series dedicated to bizarre author deaths.


Aeschylus  (525/524 BC – 456/455 BC)

Notable works: The Persians, Prometheus Bound, The Supplicants.

Often described as the father of tragedy, Aeschylus, along with Sophocles and Euripides, are the only Greek tragedians, whose plays are still performed and read today.  Aeschylus wrote an estimated seventy to ninety plays, only seven of which have survived.

The tragedian’s innovations included most likely being the first dramatist to present his plays as a trilogy.  His play, The Oresteia, is the only ancient example of the form to have survived.  Another of his influential works, The Persians, is unique amongst Greek tragedies, as the only example to describe what was at the time a recent historical event.  The play has proved to be an important source of information for historians studying the period in which it was written.

The playwright is also remembered for the purported bizarre nature of his demise.  Aeschylus met his end when an eagle looking for a hard object to break open the shell of the turtle it was carrying, mistook Aeschylus’s bald head for a rock.  The eagle dropped the turtle, killing the great tragedian instantly.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain (November 30th 1835 – April 21st 1910)

Notable works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Mark Twain is regarded as the father of American literature.  Acclaimed for his satire and wit, Twain’s quotes on politics and human nature continue to be staples amongst speechmakers. The author’s iconic works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, often referred to as ‘The Great American Novel’, remain to this day required reading in American schools.

The influential author was born in November 1835, shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet.  Twain was convinced that he would meet his end when the comet next returned to earth.  He once famously said,

‘I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835.  It is coming next year, and I expect to go out with it.’

On April 21st 1910, nearly seventy four and a half years after the comet’s last visit, the iconic writer’s prophetic declaration came true, when he died of a heart-attack, merely one day after the comet’s closest proximity to earth.


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