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The £1,000,000 Bank Note and Other New Stories is a 1893 collection of short stories by American writer Mark Twain.

Background

The collection was published in 1893, in a disastrous decade for the United States, a time marked by doubt and waning optimism, rapid immigration, labor problems, and the rise of political violence and social protest.

It was also a difficult time for Twain personally, as he was forced into bankruptcy and devastated by the death of his favorite daughter, Suzy. Yet the title story still brims with confidence and optimism, marking the moment of hope just before Twain turned to the grim stories of his later years.

Plot summary

"The £1,000,000 Bank-Note" charts the magical rags-to-riches ascent of a virtuous and resourceful mining broker's clerk from San Franciscomarker who arrives in Londonmarker with a single dollar in his pocket, and proceeds to ultimate and splendid financial success and fame in London society—a paean to ingenuity and a celebration of its cunning confidence-man narrator. The other pieces range from "Mental Telegraphy," a serious essay reflecting Twain's continuing interest in the occult—he and his wife would later try several seances, poignantly and unsuccessfully, to contact their daughter Suzy—to a tongue-in-cheek "Petition to the Queen of England" for relief from taxes.


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