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From the NYT:

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ May Have Been Found Earlier Than Thought
By SERGE F. KOVALESKI and ALEXANDRA ALTER JULY 2, 2015

On the eve of the most anticipated publishing event in years — the release of Harper Lee’s novel “Go Set a Watchman” — there is yet another strange twist to the tale of how the book made its way to publication, a development that further clouds the story of serendipitous discovery that generated both excitement and skepticism in February.

As HarperCollins, the publisher, and Ms. Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, have told it, Ms. Carter set out to review an old typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird” in August and happened upon an entirely different novel — one with the same characters but set 20 years later — attached to it.

“I was so stunned,” Ms. Carter told The New York Times last winter.

Miss Lee is now 89 and pretty gaga, so there are numerous suspicions that this is a mercenary move on the part of the people controlling her literary estate. The book that is going to be published soon is a failed first draft set in the contemporary South using the characters that eventually appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird. That unsatisfactory draft was later radically revised by moving the characters 20 years back into their younger years, producing a huge bestseller and perennial English class reading assignment.

This reminds me of the pre-publication excitement in the early 2000s over a supposedly “lost” early novel by science fiction master Robert A. Heinlein from before any of his published works. His protege Jerry Pournelle, however, pointed out that the dean of hard sci-fi had very much enjoyed being paid for his writing, so if Heinlein had chosen not to publish it for the rest of his long life, that suggested it was pretty dire.

And it was.

Similarly, there was much to-do a few years back over a rough draft that Vladimir Nabokov couldn’t finish due to his terminal illness. It eventually was published over his final instructions and … it was pretty bad.

Ralph Ellison worked for years on a follow-up to Invisible Man. It was eventually published after his death, and quickly forgotten.

There are, however, examples of good posthumous works, such as Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, that were held back for reasons of discretion. But nobody has offered any non-literary reasons for holding back on releasing this draft.

In general, most writers enjoy being read and being paid, so if they refuse to publish a manuscript, they probably have good reasons.

Are there, however, any example of a writer deciding in extreme old age to publish a manuscript that he or she had found unworthy before and it turning out good? Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together is sometimes said to have been about three or four decades old at the time of its publication in Europe at the beginning of this century. But of course it’s never been published in New York, so it’s hard to know what to make of it. That would, however, appear to be more an example of Humean discretion than a change of mind over literary merits.

Of course, the fact that Miss Lee’s attempt at writing about the contemporary South wasn’t as good as the book she eventually published about the South of her childhood reminds us that her childhood next door neighbor was master prose stylist Truman Capote. While To Kill a Mockingbird was at the publishers getting ready for publication, she worked as Capote’s research assistant on In Cold Blood. They appear as characters in each other’s books.

Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.

 
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  1. Obama, in Wisconsin, Takes On Scott Walker

    Mr. Obama said the Democratic Party had healthy competition among presidential contenders. “But I’ve lost count of the number of Republicans running. They have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” he said to raucous cheers. “But I’ve come here because why should they have all the fun?”

    Imagine the lamentation from the lefties and the media (but, I repeat myself) if some Republican summoned the prospect of Hussein being forced to run a dangerous gauntlet designed to kill him for the crowd’s amusement.

    It’s only cute when leftists summon the imagery of violence against their opponents. Ah, well, he’s just playing the tar baby, anyway. Best for the candidates to ignore him.

  2. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:

    Another example of a novel that probably didn’t deserve posthumous publication:

    Read an Excerpt of Ayn Rand’s Novel ‘Ideal’ (Exclusive)

    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/07/01/read-an-excerpt-of-ayn-rands-novel-ideal-exclusive/

    Altruism Shrugged

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122080/altruism-shrugged-unforgiving-morality-ayn-rands-forgotten-novel

  3. I’m really hoping Robert Pirsig’s got something hidden away that he either publishes very soon or that gets published after he dies (he’s 86). Zen and Lila fill out his MOQ concept against the backdrop of the mid-to-late 20th century, but I’d love to get his take on the past 30 years.

  4. e says:

    Recall the persistent rumor that Capote had actually been the writer of TKM, not Lee? I never believed it as Capote’s writing didn’t have the sweetness of hers. TKM has some wonderful dialogue, memorable characters, even minor memorable characters, but above all else, its sweetness boils down to the simple story of sacrificial parental love (which metaphorically extendsto love of neighbors and community). With his family background and his own bitter tongue, that’s not something Capote had experienced nor could likely capture in his writing.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    And "In Cold Blood" is less bitchy than Capote's default, so maybe Lee's presence helped Capote improve his big book.
  5. • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But skimming the list I don't see much reason to have high hopes over this book. Unless it was held back for reasons of political discretion, such as fear of being denounced as racist?
  6. I don’t think I’ll be among the first to purchase.

    Go Set a Watchman receives brief mention in biographies of Lee; in A Jury of Her Peers, Elaine Showalter writes that “the editors at JB Lippincott were impressed, but found the book patchy and awkwardly structured, so they sent her off to rewrite it, a process that eventually took three drafts and two and a half years”.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/03/harper-lee-new-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird

  7. Not a novel, but Spielbergs completion of Kubriks AI was pretty awful.

  8. @e
    Recall the persistent rumor that Capote had actually been the writer of TKM, not Lee? I never believed it as Capote's writing didn't have the sweetness of hers. TKM has some wonderful dialogue, memorable characters, even minor memorable characters, but above all else, its sweetness boils down to the simple story of sacrificial parental love (which metaphorically extendsto love of neighbors and community). With his family background and his own bitter tongue, that's not something Capote had experienced nor could likely capture in his writing.

    And “In Cold Blood” is less bitchy than Capote’s default, so maybe Lee’s presence helped Capote improve his big book.

    • Replies: @e
    Yes, that's very possible, in fact, likely.
    , @The Z Blog
    That always seemed like the most likely answer to me. Capote had real talent, but real problems. Lee seems to have been a fairly normal person, but not an especially talented writer. How much of each person is in each book can be debated, but the most plausible explanation is the two collaborated quite a bit on both books.
  9. Just because A Confederacy of Dunces was good doesn’t mean that Neon Bible needed to be published.

    • Replies: @Jokah Macpherson
    Although now that I think about it, Confederacy was also published posthumously. I guess not getting your lucky break is a good reason not to have something published.
  10. Another example of a very successful (& stirring) posthumously published novel is the Master & Margarita by Bulgakov. I believe he had to rewrite the book after he had burnt his first draft and it sold out immediately when the first half (or book) was published in a literary magazine after his passing (Bulgakov had to appeal to Stalin’s protection at one time).

    Obviously M&M is open to many interpretations (as is any novel about the Devil visiting 1960’s Moscow) but I thought it was a particularly poignant appeal to the ethics of Christ (is it anti-Semitic to pity Pontus Pilate) in an atheistic milieu. The irony of course is that the very people in the English speaking world likely to read M&M (post-Wasp Wasps) are the ones that the book is appealing to abandon their politics.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    It really is a remarkable novel. There's currently an English-language audiobook of it at YouTube and the guy reading it, George Guidall does an excellent job:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XBhZ-KknEQ

    There's also a very good website that gives you extensive annotations and explanations of the various Russian and Soviet places, customs and things in the novel:

    http://www.masterandmargarita.eu/en/02themas/inleiding.html
    , @Steve Sailer
    But Bulgakov's M&M is the ultimate discretion holdback. Bulgakov worked out some kind of personal deal with Stalin, who admired his talent, in which Stalin would not only not have him shot but would even let him have a non-creative job in the theater as a director as long as he didn't try to publish.
    , @cthulhu
    M&M is a terrific work, but check out "Heart of a Dog" too; a short, misanthropic, bitterly funny work.
  11. @Jokah Macpherson
    Just because A Confederacy of Dunces was good doesn't mean that Neon Bible needed to be published.

    Although now that I think about it, Confederacy was also published posthumously. I guess not getting your lucky break is a good reason not to have something published.

  12. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:

    There are, however, examples of good posthumous works, such as Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, that were held back for reasons of discretion.

    Hume probably followed the example of Jean Meslier, whose manuscript circulated hand to hand in Enlightenment circles:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Meslier

    http://newpol.org/content/jean-meslier-and-gentle-inclination-nature

  13. Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.

    But Capote also had Breakfast at Tiffany’s, didn’t he? That wasn’t so bad. Lee only had one.

    Of course, sometimes all it takes is one in the right vein.

  14. @anony-mouse
    Huge numbers of books published posthumously:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_works_published_posthumously#Literature

    But skimming the list I don’t see much reason to have high hopes over this book. Unless it was held back for reasons of political discretion, such as fear of being denounced as racist?

  15. A Confederacy of Dunces was published 11 years after the author’s death and is highly regarded.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But Toole killed himself in part because he was having a hard time getting his two manuscripts published because nobody had ever heard of him. Everybody in publishing had heard of Harper Lee and a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird using the same characters later in life would be about as big a risk as a sequel to The Avengers or Jurassic Park.
  16. Steve, read this breakdown of a recent Slate article on the Fisher case at Texas

    http://xoxohth.com/thread.php?thread_id=2924299&mc=162&forum_id=2

    excerpt:

    Reply Favorite
    Date: July 2nd, 2015 10:34 AM
    Author: ..,.,…,..,..,.,.,:,,:,…,:;:,..,:,.,.:..,.

    Dear Slate,

    Jamelle Bouie’s June 29, 2015 article titled “Easy AA” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/06/fisher_v_university_of_texas_the_supreme_court_might_just_gut_affirmative.html) contains two claims that are so misleading that they are possibly the result of intentional obfuscation and deception. Specifically, to support an argument that, because Abigail Fisher’s “grades didn’t make the cut”, the University of Texas did not discriminate against her when it rejected her application for admission, Bouie disingenuously equivocates between high school grades, test scores, and the AI/PAI scores the University of Texas gives to each applicant for admission. He writes:

    “For the remaining 8 percent of in-state spots, UT Austin used a comprehensive approach that weighed grades and test scores along with essays, leadership, activities, service to the community, and ‘special circumstances.’ Those ranged from socioeconomic status and school quality, to family background and race. As the university’s director of admissions explained for the 5th Circuit, ‘[R]ace provides—like language, whether or not someone is the first in their family to attend college, and family responsibilities—important context in which to evaluate applicants, and is only one aspect of the diversity that the University seeks to attain.’

    Neither special circumstances nor grades were determinative. Of the 841 students admitted under these criteria, 47 had worse grades than Fisher, and 42 of them were white. On the other end, UT rejected 168 black and Latino students with scores equal to or better than Fisher’s.” (emphasis added).

    A reader who is not familiar with the underlying factual record of Fisher v. Texas — the average Slate reader — would interpret the bolded language as claiming that 47 of the students admitted under the comprehensive approach plan had worse high school grades than Fisher, and that 168 black and Latino students who were rejected had test scores equal to or better than Fisher’s. There is no basis for those claims. What the factual record actually indicates is that 47 students admitted under the comprehensive approach had a worse combined AI/PAI score than Fisher, and that 168 black and Latino students who were rejected had equal or better combined AI/PAI scores than Fisher. See Respondent’s Brief at 15-16 (http://www.utexas.edu/vp/irla/Documents/Brief%20for%20Respondents.pdf). These errors are egregious because PAI scores are based in part on an applicant’s race. See Respondent’s Brief at 13 (“An applicant’s PAI score is based on . . . a Personal Achievement Score . . . . The PAS score ranges from 1 to 6 . . . and is based on holistic consideration of six equally-weighted factors: [other factors], and special circumstances. The ‘special circumstances’ factor is broken down into seven attributes, including . . . an applicant’s race.”)

    Bouie’s equivocation between high school grades, test scores, and AI/PAI scores is seriously misleading, because the actual facts — that Bouie has confused for the reader — provide zero support for his argument that Fisher was less qualified than 168 black and Latino applicants who were denied admission to the University. The “scores” on which these applicants equaled or bested Fisher were based in part on race. We have no idea whether those 168 applicants would have had a higher AI/PAI score than Fisher had race not been considered.

    I hope that Slate issues a prominent correction to Mr. Bouie’s article.

    Thank you,

    A law student concerned about Slate’s declining quality

  17. @Steve Sailer
    And "In Cold Blood" is less bitchy than Capote's default, so maybe Lee's presence helped Capote improve his big book.

    Yes, that’s very possible, in fact, likely.

  18. Probably the only “Lost” novel that was any good was Hemingway’s “Islands in the Stream” but then it wasn’t a first draft, just some novellas Papa had set aside to be reworked and published later. Of course, it was still 2nd rate Hemingway, but that’s first rate everyone else.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Probably the only “Lost” novel that was any good was Hemingway’s “Islands in the Stream” but then it wasn’t a first draft, just some novellas Papa had set aside to be reworked and published later. Of course, it was still 2nd rate Hemingway, but that’s first rate everyone else.
     
    I think that you are being a bit too generous there
  19. Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.

    That kind of thing can be tricky to figure out. Lots of people (Paul Johnson, for one) have speculated about Dashiell Hammett’s role in Lillian Hellman’s output, how her peak years coincided with his long fallow period….

    Then there’s the science fiction husband and wife team of Henry Kuttner and CL Moore.You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.Moore used to tell stories about how Henry would get tired while writing and take a nap, and she would sit down and write the ending to his story (and vice versa).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    In "Barton Fink," Faulkner's secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.

    John Huston's secretary did so much to punch up his screenplays that eventually she shared an Oscar nomination with him for "The Man Who Would Be King."
    , @Reg Cæsar

    You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.
     
    That was true of the < A href="http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/09/nyregion/mary-francis-76-quiet-force-behind-dick-francis-s-novels.html"Dick Francises as well.
  20. A Finnegans Wake first draft turned up a few years ago and has been posted to the Web, making zero impact: http://fwakeorigins.blogspot.ie/2014/09/march-1923-tristan-and-isolde-level.html

  21. Machiavelli published The Prince, the Discourses, and the Florentine Histories posthumously.

  22. @Zachary Latif
    Another example of a very successful (& stirring) posthumously published novel is the Master & Margarita by Bulgakov. I believe he had to rewrite the book after he had burnt his first draft and it sold out immediately when the first half (or book) was published in a literary magazine after his passing (Bulgakov had to appeal to Stalin's protection at one time).

    Obviously M&M is open to many interpretations (as is any novel about the Devil visiting 1960's Moscow) but I thought it was a particularly poignant appeal to the ethics of Christ (is it anti-Semitic to pity Pontus Pilate) in an atheistic milieu. The irony of course is that the very people in the English speaking world likely to read M&M (post-Wasp Wasps) are the ones that the book is appealing to abandon their politics.

    It really is a remarkable novel. There’s currently an English-language audiobook of it at YouTube and the guy reading it, George Guidall does an excellent job:

    There’s also a very good website that gives you extensive annotations and explanations of the various Russian and Soviet places, customs and things in the novel:

    http://www.masterandmargarita.eu/en/02themas/inleiding.html

  23. Yeah, it’s hard to think of too many cases of posthumous publication actually enhancing a writer’s reputation.Certainly Hemingway’s post-mortem novels haven’t done him any good, and his estate probably should have followed his judgment* and left them in the drawer.

    Edmund Wilson’s skillful work prep work (and critical encomium) on The Last Tycoon probably gave Fitzgerald a bit of a boost in 1941, but it seems to mostly survive as a kind of literary totem for Fitzgerald devotees, a sign that Scotty wasn’t written out and that he might still have managed to produce one more masterpiece.

    Off-hand, I think that Melville’s Billy Budd might be the best American example of a posthumous masterwork.Its discovery helped push along the Melville Revival in the 1920s, and it still stands as a key work in the canon.

    *When he wasn’t boasting, Hemingway was a keen critic of his own stuff, and I’m sure that he was well-aware that his post-1940 work was not up to the standards of his 1923-1940 peak.Indeed, that awareness might have contributed to his increasingly heavy drinking in the 1950s.

  24. James Agee’s A Death in the Family is good, both in the hatchet job that won the Pulitzer and the restored edition.

  25. @Steve Johnson
    A Confederacy of Dunces was published 11 years after the author's death and is highly regarded.

    But Toole killed himself in part because he was having a hard time getting his two manuscripts published because nobody had ever heard of him. Everybody in publishing had heard of Harper Lee and a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird using the same characters later in life would be about as big a risk as a sequel to The Avengers or Jurassic Park.

  26. @Honesthughgrant
    Probably the only "Lost" novel that was any good was Hemingway's "Islands in the Stream" but then it wasn't a first draft, just some novellas Papa had set aside to be reworked and published later. Of course, it was still 2nd rate Hemingway, but that's first rate everyone else.

    Probably the only “Lost” novel that was any good was Hemingway’s “Islands in the Stream” but then it wasn’t a first draft, just some novellas Papa had set aside to be reworked and published later. Of course, it was still 2nd rate Hemingway, but that’s first rate everyone else.

    I think that you are being a bit too generous there

  27. @Zachary Latif
    Another example of a very successful (& stirring) posthumously published novel is the Master & Margarita by Bulgakov. I believe he had to rewrite the book after he had burnt his first draft and it sold out immediately when the first half (or book) was published in a literary magazine after his passing (Bulgakov had to appeal to Stalin's protection at one time).

    Obviously M&M is open to many interpretations (as is any novel about the Devil visiting 1960's Moscow) but I thought it was a particularly poignant appeal to the ethics of Christ (is it anti-Semitic to pity Pontus Pilate) in an atheistic milieu. The irony of course is that the very people in the English speaking world likely to read M&M (post-Wasp Wasps) are the ones that the book is appealing to abandon their politics.

    But Bulgakov’s M&M is the ultimate discretion holdback. Bulgakov worked out some kind of personal deal with Stalin, who admired his talent, in which Stalin would not only not have him shot but would even let him have a non-creative job in the theater as a director as long as he didn’t try to publish.

    • Replies: @Spike Gomes
    It's purported that Stalin once said of Pasternak "Do not touch that cloud dweller.", whereas he showed little concern consigning the dozens of hacks who wrote verses singing his praises to the tender mercies of Yezhov and Beria during the purges.

    I've read a bit of his juvenalia. If he stuck to his national tongue, his might have ended up a major figure in modern Georgian literature and as a difficult Final Jeopardy question for the Tournament of Champions to the rest of the world. He's not all that bad a poet, it's just he had far more focused drive than most poets are able to muster at their manic peaks.

    It's funny that the two great dictators of the first half of the 20th century had youthful pretensions to the arts. Stalin had far better taste in literature than Hitler did for the visual arts, however.
  28. It’s in the news now that the record label of Amy Winehouse destroyed a complete album that was recorded before she died for reasons of decency. Is not that unusual that they didn’t release it, but to take the step of destroying all the recording is something I’ve never heard before. Plus this is not something old that they found in a file cabinet, but something that would have been released if she lived a little more.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    Winehouse was on a long downward spiral before her death. It could be that the album was so putrid that the record company executives feared that it would ruin her reputation.
  29. @syonredux

    Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.
     
    That kind of thing can be tricky to figure out. Lots of people (Paul Johnson, for one) have speculated about Dashiell Hammett's role in Lillian Hellman's output, how her peak years coincided with his long fallow period....

    Then there's the science fiction husband and wife team of Henry Kuttner and CL Moore.You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.Moore used to tell stories about how Henry would get tired while writing and take a nap, and she would sit down and write the ending to his story (and vice versa).

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.

    John Huston’s secretary did so much to punch up his screenplays that eventually she shared an Oscar nomination with him for “The Man Who Would Be King.”

    • Replies: @syonredux

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.
     
    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros. Although having someone lend a hand probably would have done Faulkner some good post-Go Down, Moses.As with Hemingway, Faulkner's work experienced a pretty steep decline in the '50s. Faulkner's A Fable might just be the worst book* ever written by a legitimately great writer.


    There's an odd synchronicity about it.Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.

    *It was also the first book by Faulkner that I ever read.I slogged through it in High School and decided that Faulkner must be the most over-rated writer of all time.A few months later, I decided to try again and picked up Absalom, Absalom! .I read that in one one day, and it completely changed my opinion of Faulkner.From that point on, I was convinced that he was on of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.
  30. @Pseudonymic Handle
    It's in the news now that the record label of Amy Winehouse destroyed a complete album that was recorded before she died for reasons of decency. Is not that unusual that they didn't release it, but to take the step of destroying all the recording is something I've never heard before. Plus this is not something old that they found in a file cabinet, but something that would have been released if she lived a little more.

    Winehouse was on a long downward spiral before her death. It could be that the album was so putrid that the record company executives feared that it would ruin her reputation.

  31. …perennial English class reading assignment.

    It was never required that I read the book, and to this day I still have not read it. Nor have I watched the movie — with Gregory Peck — from beginning to end.

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    At least the novel makes a hero out of the otherwise creepy adult male virgin character, Boo Radley.
  32. Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger might deserve a mention:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mysterious_Stranger

  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This post made me think of Kafka. He hardly published anything during his lifetime, though I think he got “The Metamorphosis” into print. He ordered all of his work to be destroyed after his death, but Max Brod–his literary executor–ignored his wish. Kafka’s also an interesting example of a famous artist who held down a normal job.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    But whether Kafka really wanted his work to be destroyed is another matter. If he did, he would surely have done it himself before he died, or entrusted the task to someone who could be relied on to carry it out. Brod was his close friend of more than twenty years, and Kafka must surely have known how he was going to react to his request to have his life's work destroyed.
  34. He didn’t have a reputation to enhance before his death, but Franz Kafka made a pretty big splash when his novels and short stories were published posthumously (and against his wishes)…

  35. “There are, however, examples of good posthumous works, such as Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, that were held back for reasons of discretion.”

    Reminds me of a good anecdote Hume told about himself. He was apparently very corpulent and one day late in his life fell into a mud hole (pot hole?) of some kind from which he was unable to extricated himself. He asked some ladies passing by for a helping hand and they replied only if he, who was known to be a non-believer, would say he believed in God. He said “I believe in God” and they helped him out. Later he told his friends, “That was easy.” [I am paraphrasing]

    • Replies: @advancedatheist
    In the version I heard, a Scots woman comes across the stuck Hume, and she says, "Well if it isn't Mr. Hume, the atheist. I shan't pull ye out until ye recite the Creed."
  36. @Zachary Latif
    Another example of a very successful (& stirring) posthumously published novel is the Master & Margarita by Bulgakov. I believe he had to rewrite the book after he had burnt his first draft and it sold out immediately when the first half (or book) was published in a literary magazine after his passing (Bulgakov had to appeal to Stalin's protection at one time).

    Obviously M&M is open to many interpretations (as is any novel about the Devil visiting 1960's Moscow) but I thought it was a particularly poignant appeal to the ethics of Christ (is it anti-Semitic to pity Pontus Pilate) in an atheistic milieu. The irony of course is that the very people in the English speaking world likely to read M&M (post-Wasp Wasps) are the ones that the book is appealing to abandon their politics.

    M&M is a terrific work, but check out “Heart of a Dog” too; a short, misanthropic, bitterly funny work.

  37. I’d like to see a sequel to Mockingbird where an angry mob of feminists lynches Atticus Finch for being a rape denialist.

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    hahahahahaha throw that up steve ahahahahhaha
    , @Reg Cæsar

    I’d like to see a sequel to Mockingbird where an angry mob of feminists lynches Atticus Finch for being a rape denialist.

     

    Fat chance. "The position of women in the movement is prone."-- Stokely Carmichael
  38. Heinlein’s “For Us, the Living” was indeed pretty bad, but was it really any worse than “Number of the Beast”, “Friday”, “Job”, “Cat who Walks Through Wall”, or “To Sail Beyond the Sunset”?

    Maybe “Sunset” was better; most of the stuff set in 1800’s Missouri was OK. But the others were nonstop crap. Heinlein really didn’t write anything good after “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”.

  39. prosa123 [AKA "Peter"] says: • Website

    Margaret Mitchell’s novella Lost Laysen is another example of a lost manuscript not found and published until long after the writer’s death. The son of one of Mitchell’s friends found it among his father’s papers and had it published in 1996, 47 years after the writer’s unfortunate kerfuffle with a taxi cab.
    As I understand it, Lost Laysen got decent if not praiseworthy reviews, not surprising given that Mitchell wrote it at age 15 or 16. It sold fairly well, even though novellas were a tough sell in the pre-Kindle era.

  40. Moses published the Pentateuch posthumously.

  41. @Steve Sailer
    In "Barton Fink," Faulkner's secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.

    John Huston's secretary did so much to punch up his screenplays that eventually she shared an Oscar nomination with him for "The Man Who Would Be King."

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros. Although having someone lend a hand probably would have done Faulkner some good post-Go Down, Moses.As with Hemingway, Faulkner’s work experienced a pretty steep decline in the ’50s. Faulkner’s A Fable might just be the worst book* ever written by a legitimately great writer.

    There’s an odd synchronicity about it.Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.

    *It was also the first book by Faulkner that I ever read.I slogged through it in High School and decided that Faulkner must be the most over-rated writer of all time.A few months later, I decided to try again and picked up Absalom, Absalom! .I read that in one one day, and it completely changed my opinion of Faulkner.From that point on, I was convinced that he was on of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I got first acquainted with Faulkner reading his hockey reportage in Sports Illustrated; thought it was crap, but I didn't realize then sports journalism would go down the tubes so completely in the clickbait Twitter era. Rick Reilly should have stayed back in Italy and not cast aspersions on the world's newest greatest female decathlete. Worst of all is the philistinic clod, Bill Simmons-- every other article there is some dorkish piece of pseudo-sophisticated millennial consumption pumping like, "Chapel Hill's best new gastropubs" or "What the Remastered Blu-ray of 'Major League II' Teaches Us About Peace in the Middle East." Of course he did manage to get himself fired from said moronic media outlet he founded, so aesthetic standards must still exist however shabbily.
    , @Steve Sailer
    "Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time."

    There was a book in the 1980s about alcoholism among the classic American writers. Only Eugene O'Neill ever dried out.

    That raises the Mickey Kaus Question: Among innovative musicians like Brian Wilson, yeah, it probably was the drugs that pushed them to the next level. What about among writers?

    I don't think it's the same, but I don't really know.
    , @Honesthughgrant

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros.
     
    It was of course a joke or satire - as was the entire movie. That's anyone would take it seriously is hard to believe.
  42. What about J.D. Salinger? Didn’t he supposedly leave behind a stack of completed novels that he didn’t want published until after his death? Whatever became of that?

    • Replies: @James Kabala
    I thought I heard that a publication schedule had been set, but I am not sure if that was confirmed or a rumor (and if a rumor, whether it was a potentially true rumor about real manuscripts or a complete fantasy about non-existent works).
  43. @Steve Sailer
    And "In Cold Blood" is less bitchy than Capote's default, so maybe Lee's presence helped Capote improve his big book.

    That always seemed like the most likely answer to me. Capote had real talent, but real problems. Lee seems to have been a fairly normal person, but not an especially talented writer. How much of each person is in each book can be debated, but the most plausible explanation is the two collaborated quite a bit on both books.

  44. Kafka’s works were all published posthumously after his executor refused to destroy them.

  45. You are probably right, Steve. Most likely, Lee wrote a bad first draft, and then fixed it. But the badness of the ‘new’ book somewhat increases the likelihood that Truman Capote wrote Mockingbird.

  46. One of my favorite novels is Frank Norris’s Vandover and the Brute, which Norris’s publishers rejected for being too lurid and was published 12 years after the author died. Norris’s brother made several cuts to the manuscript (which no longer exists) and added 5000 words of his own. It’s a story about a young alcoholic and San Francisco real estate, and is sort of an American equivalent to The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  47. Ah To Kill a Mockingbird … one of the favorite books that liberal teachers use to inflict White guilt on students.

  48. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:
    @Luke Lea
    "There are, however, examples of good posthumous works, such as Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, that were held back for reasons of discretion."

    Reminds me of a good anecdote Hume told about himself. He was apparently very corpulent and one day late in his life fell into a mud hole (pot hole?) of some kind from which he was unable to extricated himself. He asked some ladies passing by for a helping hand and they replied only if he, who was known to be a non-believer, would say he believed in God. He said "I believe in God" and they helped him out. Later he told his friends, "That was easy." [I am paraphrasing]

    In the version I heard, a Scots woman comes across the stuck Hume, and she says, “Well if it isn’t Mr. Hume, the atheist. I shan’t pull ye out until ye recite the Creed.”

  49. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:
    @eah
    ...perennial English class reading assignment.

    It was never required that I read the book, and to this day I still have not read it. Nor have I watched the movie -- with Gregory Peck -- from beginning to end.

    At least the novel makes a hero out of the otherwise creepy adult male virgin character, Boo Radley.

    • Replies: @Kylie

    At least the novel makes a hero out of the otherwise creepy adult male virgin character, Boo Radley.
     
    The person on whom Boo Radley was based, Alfred "Son" Boulware, apparently lived much as Boo Radley did, except without saving any children's lives. His mild adolescent antics caused his father to keep him housebound from his teen years until his death. He was, by all accounts, gentle and bright.

    In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee writes, "Jem figured that Mr. Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time. Atticus said no, it wasn't that sort of thing, that there were other ways of making people into ghosts."

    I've always considered Boo more tragic than creepy.

    "Son" Boulware's grave:

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=114354263
  50. The Heinlein book–“For Us, The Living”–is terrible on its own merits (even though I frequently see it in bookstores alongside his better novels, ready to ambush the unsuspecting). However, it does give some insights into the author and clearly contains some ideas that he used in later, better works, so it’s still of historiographical interest to a hardcore Heinlein fan. Of course, Heinlein was extremely prolific so it’s pretty interesting to see how FUTL set the stage for his later works. That’s not true of Harper Lee.

  51. Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.

  52. @21 Manton- Machiavelli’s Prince was posthumous? I always thought it was a hatchet job on the Medici for torturing him (Medici clout being based on liberal use of money instead of soldiers; the Prince is one long hatchet job on that). Also, if someone tortured me I’d be mad. And scared, so I wondered that Machiavelli had the courage to write it.

    Spider Robinson and Heinlein’s For Us, the Living is not at all bad. Neither writer’s best, but I liked the big glass walls and the dancing. But then I like Islands in the Stream, by the Old Pretender, better than Hemingway’s early serious Young Master stuff…

  53. @Steve Sailer
    But Bulgakov's M&M is the ultimate discretion holdback. Bulgakov worked out some kind of personal deal with Stalin, who admired his talent, in which Stalin would not only not have him shot but would even let him have a non-creative job in the theater as a director as long as he didn't try to publish.

    It’s purported that Stalin once said of Pasternak “Do not touch that cloud dweller.”, whereas he showed little concern consigning the dozens of hacks who wrote verses singing his praises to the tender mercies of Yezhov and Beria during the purges.

    I’ve read a bit of his juvenalia. If he stuck to his national tongue, his might have ended up a major figure in modern Georgian literature and as a difficult Final Jeopardy question for the Tournament of Champions to the rest of the world. He’s not all that bad a poet, it’s just he had far more focused drive than most poets are able to muster at their manic peaks.

    It’s funny that the two great dictators of the first half of the 20th century had youthful pretensions to the arts. Stalin had far better taste in literature than Hitler did for the visual arts, however.

    • Replies: @disambiguated
    Olympiad and Triumph of the Will were propaganda masterpieces. And Hitler enjoyed the Marx Brothers' films.

    Hitler also personally designed the iconic Nazi swastika flag. I'd say he had a pretty decent grasp of what sells. And the values paid for his paintings, post-war, show that he also had a pretty good idea of how to enhance the value of otherwise-mediocre artwork via lifestyle choices.

    , @Steve Sailer
    Over the years, I've slowly come to realize that our view of Stalin is distorted by the influence of Trotsky's followers. Actually, Stalin had lots of personality, lots of artistic taste, and lots of brains. Of course, that just means he was an even worse guy than if you listen to the Trotskyite conventional wisdom.
  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Capote didn’t write much after 1966 sort of like how Obama quit after “The Audacity of Hope,” because there were celebrity ministrations to be performed. Anyway I’m glad that distinguished critic of belles lettres Sailer has finally cleared the air on posthumously published fiction, i.e. that it must suck or otherwise someone woulda made some green on it at the time. That includes all of Kafka’s novels and most of his stories, for starters.

    “Writers come and go. We always need Indians.”

  55. Some of “Grizzly Man” Timothy Treadwell’s best work was published posthumously

  56. Yeah, those albums Jimi Hendrix put out in the 70s were really terrible

  57. Ralph Ellison worked for years on a follow-up to Invisible Man. It was eventually published after his death, and quickly forgotten.

    It’s not a follow-up to Invisible Man, it’s an unedited and unsorted mass of three or four novels in various states of completion.

    And it’s actually very good, provided some brave soul actually edits it into something self-contained.

  58. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I know he’s not technically dead yet, but “The Day the Clown Cried” is probably among Jerry Lewis’s lesser oeuvre and better off unreleased, at least for the moment. The audience for it isn’t there yet. I think it’d probably be ready to open wide in the E.U. for summer 2022 & do boffo B.O.

  59. @Spike Gomes
    It's purported that Stalin once said of Pasternak "Do not touch that cloud dweller.", whereas he showed little concern consigning the dozens of hacks who wrote verses singing his praises to the tender mercies of Yezhov and Beria during the purges.

    I've read a bit of his juvenalia. If he stuck to his national tongue, his might have ended up a major figure in modern Georgian literature and as a difficult Final Jeopardy question for the Tournament of Champions to the rest of the world. He's not all that bad a poet, it's just he had far more focused drive than most poets are able to muster at their manic peaks.

    It's funny that the two great dictators of the first half of the 20th century had youthful pretensions to the arts. Stalin had far better taste in literature than Hitler did for the visual arts, however.

    Olympiad and Triumph of the Will were propaganda masterpieces. And Hitler enjoyed the Marx Brothers’ films.

    Hitler also personally designed the iconic Nazi swastika flag. I’d say he had a pretty decent grasp of what sells. And the values paid for his paintings, post-war, show that he also had a pretty good idea of how to enhance the value of otherwise-mediocre artwork via lifestyle choices.

  60. Flaubert´s unfinished book ” Bouvard and Pécuchet” is arguably a masterpiece. It was published posthumously. Very funny and deep at the same time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouvard_et_Pécuchet

  61. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.
     
    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros. Although having someone lend a hand probably would have done Faulkner some good post-Go Down, Moses.As with Hemingway, Faulkner's work experienced a pretty steep decline in the '50s. Faulkner's A Fable might just be the worst book* ever written by a legitimately great writer.


    There's an odd synchronicity about it.Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.

    *It was also the first book by Faulkner that I ever read.I slogged through it in High School and decided that Faulkner must be the most over-rated writer of all time.A few months later, I decided to try again and picked up Absalom, Absalom! .I read that in one one day, and it completely changed my opinion of Faulkner.From that point on, I was convinced that he was on of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

    I got first acquainted with Faulkner reading his hockey reportage in Sports Illustrated; thought it was crap, but I didn’t realize then sports journalism would go down the tubes so completely in the clickbait Twitter era. Rick Reilly should have stayed back in Italy and not cast aspersions on the world’s newest greatest female decathlete. Worst of all is the philistinic clod, Bill Simmons– every other article there is some dorkish piece of pseudo-sophisticated millennial consumption pumping like, “Chapel Hill’s best new gastropubs” or “What the Remastered Blu-ray of ‘Major League II’ Teaches Us About Peace in the Middle East.” Of course he did manage to get himself fired from said moronic media outlet he founded, so aesthetic standards must still exist however shabbily.

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant
    Whatever Bill simmons flaws he's better than the tired NY liberals who used to dominate SI and sports writing in the 70s and 80s. When a droning bore like Halberstam is the go-to guy for excellent sports journalism - you've reached rock bottom.

    Most sports writing is terrible because the people who write it are 2nd rate. Not many 1st rate writers spend their time in the "toy section" of literature. Those that are 1st rate, either get out of it once they get better known or write about sports as an amusing side line.
  62. @Anonymous
    This post made me think of Kafka. He hardly published anything during his lifetime, though I think he got "The Metamorphosis" into print. He ordered all of his work to be destroyed after his death, but Max Brod--his literary executor--ignored his wish. Kafka's also an interesting example of a famous artist who held down a normal job.

    But whether Kafka really wanted his work to be destroyed is another matter. If he did, he would surely have done it himself before he died, or entrusted the task to someone who could be relied on to carry it out. Brod was his close friend of more than twenty years, and Kafka must surely have known how he was going to react to his request to have his life’s work destroyed.

  63. @Spike Gomes
    It's purported that Stalin once said of Pasternak "Do not touch that cloud dweller.", whereas he showed little concern consigning the dozens of hacks who wrote verses singing his praises to the tender mercies of Yezhov and Beria during the purges.

    I've read a bit of his juvenalia. If he stuck to his national tongue, his might have ended up a major figure in modern Georgian literature and as a difficult Final Jeopardy question for the Tournament of Champions to the rest of the world. He's not all that bad a poet, it's just he had far more focused drive than most poets are able to muster at their manic peaks.

    It's funny that the two great dictators of the first half of the 20th century had youthful pretensions to the arts. Stalin had far better taste in literature than Hitler did for the visual arts, however.

    Over the years, I’ve slowly come to realize that our view of Stalin is distorted by the influence of Trotsky’s followers. Actually, Stalin had lots of personality, lots of artistic taste, and lots of brains. Of course, that just means he was an even worse guy than if you listen to the Trotskyite conventional wisdom.

  64. @syonredux

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.
     
    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros. Although having someone lend a hand probably would have done Faulkner some good post-Go Down, Moses.As with Hemingway, Faulkner's work experienced a pretty steep decline in the '50s. Faulkner's A Fable might just be the worst book* ever written by a legitimately great writer.


    There's an odd synchronicity about it.Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.

    *It was also the first book by Faulkner that I ever read.I slogged through it in High School and decided that Faulkner must be the most over-rated writer of all time.A few months later, I decided to try again and picked up Absalom, Absalom! .I read that in one one day, and it completely changed my opinion of Faulkner.From that point on, I was convinced that he was on of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

    “Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.”

    There was a book in the 1980s about alcoholism among the classic American writers. Only Eugene O’Neill ever dried out.

    That raises the Mickey Kaus Question: Among innovative musicians like Brian Wilson, yeah, it probably was the drugs that pushed them to the next level. What about among writers?

    I don’t think it’s the same, but I don’t really know.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    That raises the Mickey Kaus Question: Among innovative musicians like Brian Wilson, yeah, it probably was the drugs that pushed them to the next level. What about among writers?
     
    You could make an argument for being just drunk enough, I suppose.Lots of writers have commented on the "golden moment"( that beautiful interval between stone cold sobriety and being falling down drunk) when the words flow smoothly.The problem, though, is that that equipoise is hard to maintain.Most writers seem to inevitably tip over into the pure alcoholism phase, where good work cannot be done.


    Interestingly, Gregory Benford (both a physicist and a Science Fiction writer) has commented that STEM academics (especially mathematicians) of his acquaintance tend to drink very little and many are teetotal.Conversely, Humanities types tend to drink a lot (something that I can confirm from firsthand experience; I don't drink, which makes me a huge standout at English faculty parties).Benford attributes this dichotomy to the fact that drinking doesn't assist in mathematical/scientific work, but it can serve as a spur to writing.
  65. @Steve Sailer
    "Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time."

    There was a book in the 1980s about alcoholism among the classic American writers. Only Eugene O'Neill ever dried out.

    That raises the Mickey Kaus Question: Among innovative musicians like Brian Wilson, yeah, it probably was the drugs that pushed them to the next level. What about among writers?

    I don't think it's the same, but I don't really know.

    That raises the Mickey Kaus Question: Among innovative musicians like Brian Wilson, yeah, it probably was the drugs that pushed them to the next level. What about among writers?

    You could make an argument for being just drunk enough, I suppose.Lots of writers have commented on the “golden moment”( that beautiful interval between stone cold sobriety and being falling down drunk) when the words flow smoothly.The problem, though, is that that equipoise is hard to maintain.Most writers seem to inevitably tip over into the pure alcoholism phase, where good work cannot be done.

    Interestingly, Gregory Benford (both a physicist and a Science Fiction writer) has commented that STEM academics (especially mathematicians) of his acquaintance tend to drink very little and many are teetotal.Conversely, Humanities types tend to drink a lot (something that I can confirm from firsthand experience; I don’t drink, which makes me a huge standout at English faculty parties).Benford attributes this dichotomy to the fact that drinking doesn’t assist in mathematical/scientific work, but it can serve as a spur to writing.

  66. Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    • Replies: @Kylie

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.
     
    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime. He composed 600 Lieder alone, in addition to chamber music, masses, operas, eight symphonies and piano pieces.

    During his lifetime, he was known primarily as a songwriter. Even his closest friends were unaware of his prolific output. Most of his greatest works were never performed or even discovered until years after his death.
    , @James Kabala
    And Gerard Manley Hopkins.


    The Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie of literature (except of course that they never met or came within a few thousand miles of each other).
  67. @syonredux

    In “Barton Fink,” Faulkner’s secretary insists she only wrote from scratch his last two books.
     
    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros. Although having someone lend a hand probably would have done Faulkner some good post-Go Down, Moses.As with Hemingway, Faulkner's work experienced a pretty steep decline in the '50s. Faulkner's A Fable might just be the worst book* ever written by a legitimately great writer.


    There's an odd synchronicity about it.Fitzgerald died in 1940.And Both Hemingway and Faulkner begin to decline as writers at just about the same time.

    *It was also the first book by Faulkner that I ever read.I slogged through it in High School and decided that Faulkner must be the most over-rated writer of all time.A few months later, I decided to try again and picked up Absalom, Absalom! .I read that in one one day, and it completely changed my opinion of Faulkner.From that point on, I was convinced that he was on of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros.

    It was of course a joke or satire – as was the entire movie. That’s anyone would take it seriously is hard to believe.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros.

    It was of course a joke or satire – as was the entire movie. That’s anyone would take it seriously is hard to believe.
     
    Sure, but it was an odd element in the film.
  68. @Anonymous
    I got first acquainted with Faulkner reading his hockey reportage in Sports Illustrated; thought it was crap, but I didn't realize then sports journalism would go down the tubes so completely in the clickbait Twitter era. Rick Reilly should have stayed back in Italy and not cast aspersions on the world's newest greatest female decathlete. Worst of all is the philistinic clod, Bill Simmons-- every other article there is some dorkish piece of pseudo-sophisticated millennial consumption pumping like, "Chapel Hill's best new gastropubs" or "What the Remastered Blu-ray of 'Major League II' Teaches Us About Peace in the Middle East." Of course he did manage to get himself fired from said moronic media outlet he founded, so aesthetic standards must still exist however shabbily.

    Whatever Bill simmons flaws he’s better than the tired NY liberals who used to dominate SI and sports writing in the 70s and 80s. When a droning bore like Halberstam is the go-to guy for excellent sports journalism – you’ve reached rock bottom.

    Most sports writing is terrible because the people who write it are 2nd rate. Not many 1st rate writers spend their time in the “toy section” of literature. Those that are 1st rate, either get out of it once they get better known or write about sports as an amusing side line.

    • Replies: @e
    What about Wells Twombly?
    , @James Kabala
    Bill James once documented all the factual errors in Halberstam's baseball books and said that he hoped there were not so many in his books on serious subjects.
  69. Fitzgerald thought drink made it possible for him to write stories for magazines since it released his emotions. However, he thought novels required more intelligence and therefore sobriety.

    Hemingway seems to have used drink as a cure for depression and a way to express his macho attitude. I don’t think he needed it to write. The writer as drunk seems to be a 20th Century American Gentile and Irish affiliation. The Jews, English, and Euros seem to avoid it. Nor were the writers before 1920 known for there alcoholism although there were a few exceptions.

    Heminway stated he could always tell when reading Fitzgerald and Faulkner when they’d been drinking, no doubt in support of his rule never to drink and write at the same time. He seems to have kept that rule, although there are sections of “islands in the stream” that make me doubt it.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    The writer as drunk seems to be a 20th Century American Gentile and Irish affiliation. The Jews, English, and Euros seem to avoid it. Nor were the writers before 1920 known for there alcoholism although there were a few exceptions.
     
    Yeah, 19th Century American writers were not much known for having a problem with liquor.Of the major antebellum authors (Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, etc), only Poe had a reputation for drinking to excess.And, in Poe's case, his real problem seems to have been that he was a lightweight who got drunk on very small amounts of alcohol.

    Post-Civil War is pretty much the same.Henry James, Twain, William Dean Howells: none of them had any problems with alcohol.The boozing tradition seems to commence more or less with Stephen Crane and Jack London (whose heavy drinking contributed to his early death at the age of 40).Then we get the O'Neall-Hemingway-Faulkner-Fitzgerald heavy drinking American writer sequence.
  70. @advancedatheist
    At least the novel makes a hero out of the otherwise creepy adult male virgin character, Boo Radley.

    At least the novel makes a hero out of the otherwise creepy adult male virgin character, Boo Radley.

    The person on whom Boo Radley was based, Alfred “Son” Boulware, apparently lived much as Boo Radley did, except without saving any children’s lives. His mild adolescent antics caused his father to keep him housebound from his teen years until his death. He was, by all accounts, gentle and bright.

    In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee writes, “Jem figured that Mr. Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time. Atticus said no, it wasn’t that sort of thing, that there were other ways of making people into ghosts.”

    I’ve always considered Boo more tragic than creepy.

    “Son” Boulware’s grave:

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=114354263

  71. It’s propaganda to give the impression that blacks are falsely accused of rape by bigoted Southeners. Randy Southern women accost blacks and molest them, and accuse them of rape when they are caught.

    In Kill a Mockingbird a young woman kisses a black man without his consent and is seen by her father, who accuses the man of rape. A white jury convicts him. Also, there is incest between the father and daughter.

    It’s the beginning of an era of the “soft on crime” mentality.

    The book is 1960, the movie in 1962. The last execution for rape was in 1964. Rape increases over the years after, quadrupling by 1980.

    Estimated crime in United States-Total
    (year)(Forcible rape rate relative to 1960 rate)(executions for rape)
    1960 — 1.0x — 8
    1961 — 1.0x — 9
    1962 — 1.0x — 4
    1963 — 1.0x — 2
    1964 — 1.2x — 5 — last execution for rape
    1965 — 1.3x
    1966 — 1.4x
    1967 — 1.5x
    1968 — 1.7x
    1969 — 1.9x
    1970 — 1.9x
    1971 — 2.1x
    1972 — 2.3x
    1973 — 2.6x
    1974 — 2.7x
    1975 — 2.7x
    1976 — 2.8x
    1977 — 3.1x
    1978 — 3.2x
    1979 — 3.6x
    1980 — 3.8x

  72. “Vier Letzte Lieder “, composed in 1948 when Strauss was 84, published posthumously.

    • Replies: @BB753
    When I listen to Strauss' Vier Lezte Lieder, I can't help but think the piece is not only the musician's swan song but also of classical music as the highest form of European culture.
  73. Dr Johnson’s Prayers and Meditations was published after his death. For obvious reasons he didn’t intend to publish but it’s great they were. Steve might enjoy Johnson’s 1750 payer upon embarking on The Rambler.

    Almighty God, the giver of all good things,
    without whose help all labour is ineffectual,
    and without whose grace all wisdom is folly:
    grant, I beseech Thee, that in this my undertaking,
    thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me,
    but that I may promote Thy glory,
    and the salvation both of myself and others.
    Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Jesus Christ.
    Amen. Lord bless me. So be it.

    The payers he wrote on the anniversaries of the death of his wife are heartrending.

  74. @P
    I'd like to see a sequel to Mockingbird where an angry mob of feminists lynches Atticus Finch for being a rape denialist.

    hahahahahaha throw that up steve ahahahahhaha

  75. Fascinating. Thanks much.

  76. @Kylie
    "Vier Letzte Lieder ", composed in 1948 when Strauss was 84, published posthumously.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa74n3CO7DE

    When I listen to Strauss’ Vier Lezte Lieder, I can’t help but think the piece is not only the musician’s swan song but also of classical music as the highest form of European culture.

    • Replies: @Kylie

    When I listen to Strauss’ Vier Lezte Lieder, I can’t help but think the piece is not only the musician’s swan song but also of classical music as the highest form of European culture.
     
    Same here.

    Interestingly, Strauss said of himself, ""I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer."
  77. @Honesthughgrant
    Fitzgerald thought drink made it possible for him to write stories for magazines since it released his emotions. However, he thought novels required more intelligence and therefore sobriety.

    Hemingway seems to have used drink as a cure for depression and a way to express his macho attitude. I don't think he needed it to write. The writer as drunk seems to be a 20th Century American Gentile and Irish affiliation. The Jews, English, and Euros seem to avoid it. Nor were the writers before 1920 known for there alcoholism although there were a few exceptions.

    Heminway stated he could always tell when reading Fitzgerald and Faulkner when they'd been drinking, no doubt in support of his rule never to drink and write at the same time. He seems to have kept that rule, although there are sections of "islands in the stream" that make me doubt it.

    The writer as drunk seems to be a 20th Century American Gentile and Irish affiliation. The Jews, English, and Euros seem to avoid it. Nor were the writers before 1920 known for there alcoholism although there were a few exceptions.

    Yeah, 19th Century American writers were not much known for having a problem with liquor.Of the major antebellum authors (Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, etc), only Poe had a reputation for drinking to excess.And, in Poe’s case, his real problem seems to have been that he was a lightweight who got drunk on very small amounts of alcohol.

    Post-Civil War is pretty much the same.Henry James, Twain, William Dean Howells: none of them had any problems with alcohol.The boozing tradition seems to commence more or less with Stephen Crane and Jack London (whose heavy drinking contributed to his early death at the age of 40).Then we get the O’Neall-Hemingway-Faulkner-Fitzgerald heavy drinking American writer sequence.

  78. @Seth
    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn't discovered until after her death.

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime. He composed 600 Lieder alone, in addition to chamber music, masses, operas, eight symphonies and piano pieces.

    During his lifetime, he was known primarily as a songwriter. Even his closest friends were unaware of his prolific output. Most of his greatest works were never performed or even discovered until years after his death.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime.
     
    I dunno; that means that he had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.
  79. As a rule I doubt high literature is possible in drink.

    The professional drunk poet Dylan Thomas wrote sober in the mornings.

    You can see in the otherwise pretty good Raj Quartet where Paul Scott had overdone it.

    I admired Christopher Hitchens but I suspect that heavy drinking had burnt him out even if he didn’t write drunk – his writing had a peculiary soulless quality, particularly noticeable in his autobiography.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    The impressive thing about Hitchens is that he managed to write at all half the time
  80. @Honesthughgrant

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros.
     
    It was of course a joke or satire - as was the entire movie. That's anyone would take it seriously is hard to believe.

    That was pure invention on the part of the Coen Bros.

    It was of course a joke or satire – as was the entire movie. That’s anyone would take it seriously is hard to believe.

    Sure, but it was an odd element in the film.

  81. @Honesthughgrant
    Whatever Bill simmons flaws he's better than the tired NY liberals who used to dominate SI and sports writing in the 70s and 80s. When a droning bore like Halberstam is the go-to guy for excellent sports journalism - you've reached rock bottom.

    Most sports writing is terrible because the people who write it are 2nd rate. Not many 1st rate writers spend their time in the "toy section" of literature. Those that are 1st rate, either get out of it once they get better known or write about sports as an amusing side line.

    What about Wells Twombly?

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant

    What about Wells Twombly?
     
    Never heard of him.
  82. @Kylie

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.
     
    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime. He composed 600 Lieder alone, in addition to chamber music, masses, operas, eight symphonies and piano pieces.

    During his lifetime, he was known primarily as a songwriter. Even his closest friends were unaware of his prolific output. Most of his greatest works were never performed or even discovered until years after his death.

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime.

    I dunno; that means that he had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.

    • Replies: @Kylie

    I dunno; that means that he [Schubert] had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.
     
    True. But he's also by far the greater artist. He is generally regarded as of the first rank in classical Western music or only slightly behind Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    Emily Dickinson is not a poet of the first rank.
    , @Spike Gomes
    My favorite "discovered" writer is Fernando Pessoa. He's pretty much the centerpiece of modern Portuguese literature, but in his life he only published once and strove to lead a mostly anonymous life as a commercial translator when he was creating his best works and shoving them into steamer trunks.

    Oddly he was one of those politically and culturally conservative writers who was extremely avant-garde and experimental in the bulk of his writing. His one published work is a book of traditionally composed verse that's a paean to the history, culture and language of Portugal.

    Yeah, he's a bit of hero of mine. It's hard finding those sorts of folks.
  83. @Bill B.
    As a rule I doubt high literature is possible in drink.

    The professional drunk poet Dylan Thomas wrote sober in the mornings.

    You can see in the otherwise pretty good Raj Quartet where Paul Scott had overdone it.

    I admired Christopher Hitchens but I suspect that heavy drinking had burnt him out even if he didn't write drunk - his writing had a peculiary soulless quality, particularly noticeable in his autobiography.

    The impressive thing about Hitchens is that he managed to write at all half the time

  84. @Seth
    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn't discovered until after her death.

    And Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    The Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie of literature (except of course that they never met or came within a few thousand miles of each other).

    • Replies: @syonredux

    And Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    The Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie of literature (except of course that they never met or came within a few thousand miles of each other).
     
    I'm rather surprised that someone hasn't written a two-person play involving them encountering one another in some fashion (meeting in the afterlife, corresponding, etc)
  85. @Honesthughgrant
    Whatever Bill simmons flaws he's better than the tired NY liberals who used to dominate SI and sports writing in the 70s and 80s. When a droning bore like Halberstam is the go-to guy for excellent sports journalism - you've reached rock bottom.

    Most sports writing is terrible because the people who write it are 2nd rate. Not many 1st rate writers spend their time in the "toy section" of literature. Those that are 1st rate, either get out of it once they get better known or write about sports as an amusing side line.

    Bill James once documented all the factual errors in Halberstam’s baseball books and said that he hoped there were not so many in his books on serious subjects.

    • Replies: @Honesthughgrant

    Bill James once documented all the factual errors in Halberstam’s baseball books and said that he hoped there were not so many in his books on serious subjects.
     
    Based on Halberstam's last book "The coldest winter" on the Korean War - that hope went unfulfilled. I can't say much about his other serious books since I usually fell asleep reading them.
  86. @Mr. Blank
    What about J.D. Salinger? Didn't he supposedly leave behind a stack of completed novels that he didn't want published until after his death? Whatever became of that?

    I thought I heard that a publication schedule had been set, but I am not sure if that was confirmed or a rumor (and if a rumor, whether it was a potentially true rumor about real manuscripts or a complete fantasy about non-existent works).

  87. @James Kabala
    Bill James once documented all the factual errors in Halberstam's baseball books and said that he hoped there were not so many in his books on serious subjects.

    Bill James once documented all the factual errors in Halberstam’s baseball books and said that he hoped there were not so many in his books on serious subjects.

    Based on Halberstam’s last book “The coldest winter” on the Korean War – that hope went unfulfilled. I can’t say much about his other serious books since I usually fell asleep reading them.

  88. @BB753
    When I listen to Strauss' Vier Lezte Lieder, I can't help but think the piece is not only the musician's swan song but also of classical music as the highest form of European culture.

    When I listen to Strauss’ Vier Lezte Lieder, I can’t help but think the piece is not only the musician’s swan song but also of classical music as the highest form of European culture.

    Same here.

    Interestingly, Strauss said of himself, “”I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.”

  89. @syonredux

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime.
     
    I dunno; that means that he had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.

    I dunno; that means that he [Schubert] had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.

    True. But he’s also by far the greater artist. He is generally regarded as of the first rank in classical Western music or only slightly behind Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    Emily Dickinson is not a poet of the first rank.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    True. But he’s also by far the greater artist. He is generally regarded as of the first rank in classical Western music or only slightly behind Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    Emily Dickinson is not a poet of the first rank.
     
    A lot of first-rate critics would contest that.To cite only the most obvious, Harold Bloom ranks her as one of the greatest poets in the English language.
  90. @syonredux

    Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.
     
    That kind of thing can be tricky to figure out. Lots of people (Paul Johnson, for one) have speculated about Dashiell Hammett's role in Lillian Hellman's output, how her peak years coincided with his long fallow period....

    Then there's the science fiction husband and wife team of Henry Kuttner and CL Moore.You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.Moore used to tell stories about how Henry would get tired while writing and take a nap, and she would sit down and write the ending to his story (and vice versa).

    You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.

    That was true of the < A title=”"http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/09/nyregion/mary-francis-76-quiet-force-behind-dick-francis-s-novels.html"Dick&#8221; href="http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/09/nyregion/mary-francis-76-quiet-force-behind-dick-francis-s-novels.html"Dick Francises as well.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    Mary Francis, one more time.
  91. @Kylie

    I dunno; that means that he [Schubert] had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.
     
    True. But he's also by far the greater artist. He is generally regarded as of the first rank in classical Western music or only slightly behind Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    Emily Dickinson is not a poet of the first rank.

    True. But he’s also by far the greater artist. He is generally regarded as of the first rank in classical Western music or only slightly behind Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    Emily Dickinson is not a poet of the first rank.

    A lot of first-rate critics would contest that.To cite only the most obvious, Harold Bloom ranks her as one of the greatest poets in the English language.

  92. @James Kabala
    And Gerard Manley Hopkins.


    The Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie of literature (except of course that they never met or came within a few thousand miles of each other).

    And Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    The Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie of literature (except of course that they never met or came within a few thousand miles of each other).

    I’m rather surprised that someone hasn’t written a two-person play involving them encountering one another in some fashion (meeting in the afterlife, corresponding, etc)

  93. @P
    I'd like to see a sequel to Mockingbird where an angry mob of feminists lynches Atticus Finch for being a rape denialist.

    I’d like to see a sequel to Mockingbird where an angry mob of feminists lynches Atticus Finch for being a rape denialist.

    Fat chance. “The position of women in the movement is prone.”– Stokely Carmichael

  94. @Reg Cæsar

    You can basically assume that everything that they wrote during their marriage saw some degree of collaboration.
     
    That was true of the < A href="http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/09/nyregion/mary-francis-76-quiet-force-behind-dick-francis-s-novels.html"Dick Francises as well.

    Mary Francis, one more time.

  95. @e
    What about Wells Twombly?

    What about Wells Twombly?

    Never heard of him.

  96. @syonredux

    Emily Dickinson is the classic case of someone whose work wasn’t discovered until after her death.

    No, that would be Schubert. Only about 100 of his works were published in his lifetime.
     
    I dunno; that means that he had a much higher profile while alive than did Emily Dickinson. Very few of her poems were published while she was alive, and they were published anonymously to boot.

    My favorite “discovered” writer is Fernando Pessoa. He’s pretty much the centerpiece of modern Portuguese literature, but in his life he only published once and strove to lead a mostly anonymous life as a commercial translator when he was creating his best works and shoving them into steamer trunks.

    Oddly he was one of those politically and culturally conservative writers who was extremely avant-garde and experimental in the bulk of his writing. His one published work is a book of traditionally composed verse that’s a paean to the history, culture and language of Portugal.

    Yeah, he’s a bit of hero of mine. It’s hard finding those sorts of folks.

    • Replies: @BB753
    Indeed! Pessoa was a first class and natural poet. And a deep thinker. A truly rare combination. He also wrote some poems in English, as he spent his adolescence in South Africa. French and German readers have already discovered Pessoa. Some day the Anglosphere will. Truly amazing talent.
  97. @Spike Gomes
    My favorite "discovered" writer is Fernando Pessoa. He's pretty much the centerpiece of modern Portuguese literature, but in his life he only published once and strove to lead a mostly anonymous life as a commercial translator when he was creating his best works and shoving them into steamer trunks.

    Oddly he was one of those politically and culturally conservative writers who was extremely avant-garde and experimental in the bulk of his writing. His one published work is a book of traditionally composed verse that's a paean to the history, culture and language of Portugal.

    Yeah, he's a bit of hero of mine. It's hard finding those sorts of folks.

    Indeed! Pessoa was a first class and natural poet. And a deep thinker. A truly rare combination. He also wrote some poems in English, as he spent his adolescence in South Africa. French and German readers have already discovered Pessoa. Some day the Anglosphere will. Truly amazing talent.

  98. […] 37. “Of course, much like Lee was never able to publish anything after To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote’s writing fizzled after In Cold Blood, so perhaps their literary relationship was more symbiotic than one-sided.” Steve Sailer, “Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Pre-sequel,” Unz Review, July 2, 2015, here. […]

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