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General Chat > What do you think about publishing "lost" manucripts?

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message 1: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 571 comments There has been quite a few lost manuscripts published through the years. The newest coming out is a Tolkin novel. There's been Tolkin, Dr. Seus, Harper Lee, some fantasy and mystery authors. The outcome of these rediscovered books is mixed. Although I am delighted to see a new book from mostly deceased authors, I also wonder there must be a Reason these authors Hide Them Away. Let's be Honest, publishers publish simply to make money. Authors. hide unfinished writing because they do not like their own product yet. Thoughts?


message 2: by Annette (new)

Annette Macintyre | 70 comments I think you are right. I would belive that if an author was proud of his work he would want to share it with others. I understand that some memoirs would be kept under the table if they would hurt others still alive.


message 3: by Paul (last edited Aug 13, 2015 08:50AM) (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 233 comments I find myself very much torn, for several reasons. One is that the publishing of early stories (such as the Tolkien one) smacks very much of the sort of money-making you get from record companies with previously unreleased tracks - all those old Beatles songs and what have you. There's usually a very good reason the artist didn't include them on any albums; they didn't think they were good enough. Having said that, there might be a historical interest in either case.


I find it more problematic still in the case of Go Set A Watchman. By all accounts, Lee really, really didn't want it published, so its release makes me extremely uncomfortable. That said, if Franz Kafka's friend had followed his instructions all of his work would have been burnt, so perhaps the author is not necessarily the best judge...


message 4: by Annette (new)

Annette Macintyre | 70 comments Good point, Paul.


message 5: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 50 comments I think it is all about greed and I think like Paul, if the author does NOT want it published like Lee, it is a crime to publish it.


message 6: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35550 comments In a number of cases the author knew it wasn't up to his standard. In some cases, the author purposely wanted it published after his death. My personal opinion is that the Lee sisters had not intended that Watchman be published. Convenient that it only came about after sister Alice had died.

Hemingway was discouraged from publishing Feast while alive by his publisher.

But, as noted, families get greedy when the money pit has dried up.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter (stephenofllongbeach) | 87 comments I wish I was part of a Greedy family. My descendants did jack-sh*t ( I am continuing that family tradition.) I am of the "let the market decide" side ( at least in this matter.) Certainly I enjoyed Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, which was sanctioned by the PG Wodehouse estate. Would it have sold better if it was a missing manuscript? I have all sorts of problems with the Tolkien estate stance that no one can add to the Middle Earth saga (which does not apply to the screenplays).


message 8: by Jill (last edited Aug 13, 2015 12:40PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This is a tough question. Like many of you, I feel that authors did not release books for publication because they were not satisfied with the work. They may even had held it back in order to re-visit it later and do some rewriting to bring it up to their standards. To be honest, I was disappointed that the Harper Lee book was published.....I wanted to be left with the heroic figure of Atticus Finch and didn't need to know anymore about him than what was presented in the wonderful ".......Mockingbird". Obviously Harper Lee felt the same and as Jan C stated, it was "convenient" that it only came to print after sister Alice had passed away. Maybe authors need to be more specific in a legal sense about what happens with their works that have not been published. Families and publishers do get very greedy and the "discovery of a missing manuscript" stirs the interest of the reading public which usually means big sales numbers.

The continuation of a character as sanctioned by the author's family/estate is another matter: e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Jeeves and Wooster, etc. (although I wonder if the Holmes character has come into the public domain since there are too many authors writing continuations). Although the works may not be up to the creators standards, at least they are clearly not to be construed as "missing manuscripts".


message 9: by Angelo (new)

Angelo Marcos (angelomarcos) | 226 comments I do think that, for better or for worse, the author should really have the final say.

The whole Go Set A Watchman thing makes me so uncomfortable, because the more I hear about it the more it seems that Harper Lee never wanted it to see the light of day.

Thee are always exceptions though I suppose. If, for instance, a lost CS Lewis book was found, I'd probably be first in line to buy a copy.


message 10: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 571 comments I am not a professional writer. If I was, and a successful one, I would put it my Will or something what could or could not be published after death.
Before Charles Schultz (Peanuts comics)passed away, he apparently put some sort of moratorium on his characters. I do not remember the details, but he did not want his creation spoiled after death.


message 11: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Great topic, Wendy; frankly, I think that each author had his/her own concern about publishing the work or not and everyone has written something extremely interesting. Yes, greed could be one reason, but as far as Harper Lee...I won't read the novel; one of the many reasons To Kill a Mockingbird was so well received and highly acclaimed is due to its nature/premise during the time frame it was published. I never ever want to read Atticus Finch in any other light except that of a noble attorney, defending someone against all odds.


message 12: by Wendy (last edited Aug 15, 2015 09:35AM) (new)

Wendy | 571 comments I wrote a partial manuscript when I was a teen. I admit I still have it. I want to eventually rewrite it as an adult - I am 50. However, I personally think it had parts that were "borrowed" from novels I read as a kid. If my family ever published it..I would likely haunt the S#$@ out of them. A horrifying, mortifying thought.


message 13: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Wendy wrote: "I wrote a partial manuscript when I was a teen. I admit I still have it. I want to eventually rewrite it as an adult - I am 50. However, I personally think it had parts that were "borrowed" from no..."

Wendy, that's the problem; for years and years, I kept a journal that turned into stacks of journals; true, raw, ME... my son, as an adult had a field day and then said some very unpleasant things---I am carefully choosing my words now, and I grabbed years and years of writing, threw them into in INDUSTRIAL sized trash bag and tossed them.


message 14: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Mary wrote: "I think if the author wanted them published they would have done it themselves. Morally, we should respect their wishes. BUT as readers we are very curious about them. We're only human."

This is a great topic and a very current controversy.
http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2012/01...

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles....


message 15: by Wendy (last edited Aug 15, 2015 09:54PM) (new)

Wendy | 571 comments I actually think my family would do it for nostalgic reasons... I think I may add a note to that crappy old thing explaing' thangs. lol

In regards to the articles, So once again those in Power did not give a rat's behind what was "Right"...sounds about right. Sad.


message 16: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Yes and no, I guess; some things should be shared, I guess, but I'm not sure, moving the Barnes Foundation to Philadelphia gives many the ways and means to view art ( although whether the interest is there or not is another issue). It is complex,


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