Monday, 5 October 2009

Some reading:

Ghost Writers- Wall st. Journal, oct 2
A new wave of posthumous books by iconic authors is stirring debate over how publishers should handle fragmentary literary remains. Works by Vladimir Nabokov, William Styron, Graham Greene, Carl Jung and Kurt Vonnegut will hit bookstores this fall. Ralph Ellison and the late thriller writer Donald E. Westlake have posthumous novels due out in 2010.
The posthumous works may generate as much controversy as enthusiasm. Many are incomplete or appear in multiple drafts, raising thorny questions about author intent. Others, dug up from the archives of authors' early and less accomplished work, could be branded disappointing footnotes to otherwise lustrous literary legacies...
Vladimir Nabokov instructed his family to burn his final novel, "The Original of Laura," after his death. He had sketched out the novel on 138 index cards, a process he used to write "Lolita" and other works. Nobody, not even Mr. Nabokov's son and literary executor, Dmitri Nabokov, knows the exact order the author intended for the cards.

Why would you burn your life's work?-BBC News mag-oct 5
Along with David Bailey and Terence Donovan, Brian Duffy took many iconic images of the 1960s. Then, one day, he decided to set fire to his life's work.
Negatives don't burn quite as well as you might imagine.
If they did, Brian Duffy would have seen his life's work consumed by the flames. As it was, whole sections - but not all - of his images chronicling the 1960s and 1970s were lost.
The Job of the book editor- Daniel Menaker-Review,Barnes and Noble.com-sept14
Genuine literary discernment is often a liability in editors.

Review coverage means far less than it used to --when, for example, a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review usually guaranteed a certain level of recognition and sales.

Many books that do show a profit show a profit so small that it only minimally darkens a company's red ink.

Usually, writers, like anyone else who performs in public and desires wide recognition, no matter how successful they become, have an unslakeable thirst for attention and approval -- in my opinion (and, I'm embarrassed to say, in my own case) usually left over from some early-childhood deficit or perception of deficit in the attention-and-approval department.

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3 Comments:

Blogger gmoke said...

I lost about ten years of my notebooks in a house fire when I was 26. It was such a relief.

5 October 2009 10:37:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Jams_Runt said...

The Ralph Ellison book will be interesting. It is supposed to be a much longer selection of the same basic novel as Juneteenth, i.e. the only novel Ellison worked on after publishing Invisible Man in the 50s. I'm looking forward to it in the way that I don't usually look forward to posthumous books in that it will give the curious reader another glimpse into an unfinished work. The book in Ellison's head will never exist, but this will give us a chance at stereophonic conjecture. I think they should publish the new Nabokov as a box of index cards.

6 October 2009 10:58:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Daniel said...

I know of an artist who was so pissed off at being refused work by Marvel & DC that he was seriously considering taking his pages out into a field and setting fire to them, filming it and posting it on the internet for the world to see. This would have included some very iconic pages indeed. His other idea was to have eBay auctions set up to state that if a page didn't sell then he'd burn it- his own personal 'fire sale'.

Luckily he came to his senses but says he still regrets not burning his art out of spite.

8 October 2009 6:54:00 pm GMT-5  

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