Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unfinished Books Written By Notable Authors

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.

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