Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later

Contrary to popular belief, even the most famous of writers had their fair share of rejection. Or, even more difficult to believe, they forgot  having written them in the first place. Or simply didn’t bother to finish writing them.

Here are some books that were lost, only to be found many, many years later.

Jules Verne – Paris in the Twentieth Century

This novel was discovered in a safe some hundred and thirty years after it was written. Unlike most of Jules Verne’s novels,  it was considered undesirable by his editor. Why? It was a sort of strange mix between science fiction and auto-biography, and it described a world obsessed with business and technology. The novel was finally published in 1994.

The Narrative of John Smith – Arthur Conan Doyle

Written in 1883 and published posthumously in 2011, this novel tells the story of a middle-aged man named John Smith recovering from rheumatic gout. Because, why not? Also, because Conan Doyle was a doctor. Unlike his later works, The Narrative of John Smith is composed of a series of essay-like thoughts and observations of every day life.


The Watsons – Jane Austen

Austen began work on the novel in 1803 and abandoned it after her father’s death in 1805. It has five chapters, and is less than 18,000 words long.

The novel, dealing with a young girl being raised by her rich aunt, is strongly auto-biographical.

In 2011 the original manuscript was sold at an auction for £850,000.

Summer Crossing – Truman Capote

Capote wrote Summer Crossing when he was only nineteen years old. For over 50 years the novel was thought to be lost but it was eventually rediscovered among Capote’s papers and published in 2005.

The Rum Diary – Hunter S. Thompson

Short self-biographical novel written at the age of 22, constantly rejected by publishers, The story involves a journalist named Paul Kemp who, in the 1950s, moves from New York to work for a major newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thomson abandoned the novel and focused on the political turmoil of the sixties and seventies. Believe it or not, he even forgot all about it until 1998, when he and Johnny Depp stumbled upon the manuscript.

The novel was adapted into a 2011 movie staring Johnny Depp.

The Sea is My Brother – Jack Kerouac

Written in 1942, the novel that is based on Kerouach’s experince in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II remained unpublished throughout his lifetime due to his dissatisfaction with the novel. It was finally published in 2011, receiving mixed reviews.

2 thoughts on “Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.