Tuesday, September 14, 2010
There are many reasons for notable authors to leave behind unfinished books. Death is a major cause. Yet, fans of an author will often want to read even an uncompleted work to get what pleasure they can from what was left behind or to see where the author was mentally when he or she died.
Examples include "The Varieties of Reference" a probing piece of philosophy by Gareth Evans, cut down by lung cancer. His work contributes to analytical philosophy despite its incompleteness. In literature "Sandition" by Jane Austin, exists as several chapters of a sunny and bouncy novel written during self-aware months in which she was also dying of cancer.
Another reason books are left unfinished is because the scheme for the total work is larger than the author can complete, or sometimes the author stops work on a piece because he or she looses interest in it or becomes dissatisfied with the way the book is shapping up.
Examples of authors whose literary schemes where too large to complete during their life times include Chaucer, Virgil and Edmund Spencer. Yet, each author has had fans appreciate their work for centuries.
Then there is the example of Jean Paul Sartre who started but did not finish many works, that are now in print, because he was not satified with the work, lost interest, or became interested in something else.
One of the pleasures of reading unfinished books is the pleasure of challenging oneself to visualize how the author would have completed the book, or the reader is free to visualize how he or she would have done so.
Look at the display titled "Unfinished Books By Notable Authors" at the Al Harris Library to see examples of published but unfinished books from our literary heritage.
Friday, September 10, 2010
July 11, 2010, marked the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird written by Southern novelist Harper Lee. This book is considered to be one of the ten most important books of the last century. The importance of issues such as: race and diversity; prejudice and tolerance; friendship and family; fear and change; morality and ethics; justice and judgment; and compassion and forgiveness are woven into this compelling story.
In 1961, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Additionally, To Kill a Mockingbird has a world-wide following, for it has been translated into nearly 50 languages, and more than 40 million copies have been sold worldwide. In 1962 the book became an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.
Many of the books and other resources that are located on the display relate to themes that are found in To Kill a Mockingbird. Stop by and take a look at these materials and spend a few minutes viewing a scene from the film as part of the celebration.