Tag: Oscar Wilde

7 Famous Books Written While The Authors Were in Prison!

You can write a book anywhere! In the park, at your desk, in your bed, or even in jail.

 

Hands grasping prison bars for dear life
Image Via Montreal Gazette

That took a dark turn, but what did you expect when you clicked on this article? Heck, honestly, why did you click on this article? Are you going to jail? I’m not here to judge, I’m just here to encourage you to write a good book while you’re on the inside

For inspiration, you future/current convict, let’s look at seven authors turned prisoners/prisoners turned authors who gave us seven great literary works!

 

7. Le Morte d’ Arthur by Thomas Malory

 

Image Via Clarendon House Publications Image Via Amazon

Thomas Malory knew how to spin a great sentences and knew just how to end up in prison.

French for The Death of Arthur, Malory’s book is one of the best-known works of Arthurian literature. Compiling the legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Malory interpreted existing French and English stories and added original material. It streamlines the original legends is seen to be the definitive telling of the tales of Arthur.

It may strike you odd that Thomas Malory penned much of this book while sitting in London’s Marshalsea prison, awaiting trial on charges of masterminding a string of over 100 violent robberies. In fact, The British Library notes that “for unknown reasons, he turned to a life of crime”.

Malory had assembled himself a crew of twenty-six men and ambushed the Duke of Buckingham in an attempt to murder him. Latter, Mallory “stole livestock, and extorted money with menaces…was accused of rape on two occasions” and even led a an army of one hundred men in attacking Combe Abbey, “terrifying the monks and stealing their money and valuables”.

 

 

See, Central government was weak under Henry VI, who suffered from bouts of insanity, and Malory took full advantage, as Civil War broke out for the throne. (Side note: this Civil War came be known as the Wars of the Roses, which went on to inspire Game of Thrones.)

So in 1461, Malory was in jail, and that same year Edward IV ascends to the throne and Malory is released. In 1462 and Malory fought with the Earl of Warwick for Yorkists, Edward’s folk. But Malory remained loyal to that Earl of Warwick and when the Earl switched sides, so did Malory. Wrong move! The Earl lost, and the Yorkists were ticked off that Malory betrayed them. Thus, back to prison Malory went. In 1470, while awaiting trial, Malory was released from prison thanks to Henry VI briefly regaining the throne. He would die five months later and be buried just across the road from Newgate Prison. Now that’s irony, kids!

As for his infamous book?

That got its first printed edition in 1485 thanks to William Caxton. Malory would only be acknowledged thanks to discovery of the original manuscript in 1934. Imagine the shock when people found out who Malory really was!

 

6. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Image Via Bio.com

 

Italian philosopher and defense secretary, Niccolò Machiavelli became one of the fathers of political theory. He was diplomat in Florence and met Prince of the Papal States and son of Pope Julius II, Cesare Borgia.

By 1512 Machiavelli wasn’t living the high life anymore. Having fallen out of favor with the Medici banking family, who owned most of Italy, Machiavelli was imprisoned because they believed he was involved in a revolt.

In an attempt to get back in the Medici good books, Machiavelli wrote The Prince, arguing that rules had to be hard edged in trying times. The Prince was first published as a pamphlet in 1513 and published “in book form posthumously in 1532”.

 

 

It’s important to note that whether or not Machiavelli actually believed this or was just trying to regain his reputation hasn’t seemed to matter in the eyes of history. Despite his other political works, such as The Discourses on Livy and Life of Castruccio Castracani which expounded on his beliefs, his name has become synonymous with cruel rulers who distrust the people thanks to The Prince.

On a happier note, his treatise has been a touchstone of political strategy, revered by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and John Gotti.

 

5. De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

Image Via AuthGram.com

Let’s talk about Oscar Wilde because any excuse to talk about Oscar Wilde is worth it in my book. Author of the infamous The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde was a larger than life artists who lead an equally extravagant lifestyle. He was known for “wearing his hair long and openly scorning so-called ‘manly’ sports, and began decorating his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china and other objets d’art.” He was a celebrity!

He had reached the height of fame and success with his plays An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, but there was a small problem: Wilde was gay. And being gay was not okay back in the late 1800s. It was, in fact, a crime.

 

 

Wilde’s love affair with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas didn’t go well. See, Lord Alfred Douglas’ father was the Marquess of Queensberry and he didn’t like Wilde nor what he saw as Wilde’s influence over his son.

To make a long story short: Lord Douglas’ father accused Wilde of being gay, Wilde sued for libel, and the lawsuit spread into Wilde himself was arrested and sentenced to two years hard labor in Reading Gaol.

This was where we he wrote De Profundis. Latin for ‘from the depths’, this very letter letter begins with “Dear Bosie” and ends “Your Affectionate Friend”, but we all know who he’s talking about.

The letter starts off with an autobiography, recounting his previous relationship with Douglas and how his fame led to his downfall, but the second half is where Wilde charts his spiritual development and how he views Jesus Christ as as a romantic, individualist artist.

It’s a poignant work of art, reflection, and love that we are luckily to have, especially considering it was published in 1905, five years after Wilde’s death.

 

4-Letters from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Image Via Daily Wire

In case you didn’t know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist Minister who was the spokesperson and leader of the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King coordinated several marches and sit-ins against racial segregation.

He often found himself in jail. During on this instances, he read a public statement issued by eight white Alabama clergymen condemning his civil disobedience methods.

Thus came Letters from Birmingham Jail. A defense of civil disobedience, the letter makes argument that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws. Notably, King writes that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

Remember that.

 

3. Diseases of Canaries by Robert Stroud

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Published in 1933, Diseases of Canaries is a comprehensive work about the general health of canaries. It goes into the anatomy, feeding, how to treat for dangerous insects and parasites, how to treat injuries, and how to use drugs for canaries, among many other things.

It was later updated in 1943. The author was “an expert in avian pathology and even [developed] a remedy for the septicemia that ravaged his aviary“.

The author was Robert Stroud. He was known for many things, but not all of them included birds. For one, he had an I.Q. of 112.

He was also diagnosed as a psychopath, which makes sense considering he shot a bartender to death after he failed to pay a prostitute Stroud was pimping in 1909, stabbed a fellow prisoner in 1912, and stabbed and killed a guard in 1916.

 

An older Robert Stroud

Image Via The Vintage News

He became obsessed with birds after he discovered a nest with three injured sparrows in the prison yard. He cared for them, and within within a few years had acquired a collection of about 300 canaries.

 

 

After Digest on the Disease of Canaries was published, it was discovered that Stroud was secretly making alcohol in his cell. Thus, he was transferred to Alcatraz, “where he was allowed to continue his research but was denied further right of publication“. He later died in a medical facility. Just remember, if you go to jail you can write books, care for birds, but you shouldn’t make alcohol in your cell. That’s just nasty!

 

2. The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo

Image Via Silk Road

No, he didn’t invent the game ‘Marco-Polo’ but he did write a book while in jail.

Picture this: You’re going on a journey.

You’ve spent fifteen years on that journey traveling Central Asia and the Far East during the latter part of the 13th century. Good for you, you worldly person, but once you return to Italy you find that there’s a war between Venice and Genoa.

Whoa! You’ve been captured and tossed in jail because you’re a pretty famous Venetian. Bad luck, brother, and who knows when you’ll be out. But now that you’re here, what’re you going to do?

Talk someone’s ear off.

Rustichello da Pisa

Image Via Ancient Origins

Luckily for us, Rustichello da Pisa didn’t tune for Marco out. He wrote down everything Marco told him. Good thing he was a writer! I mean, what are the odds that these two would be thrown in jail? Well, pretty high considering the war going on and how everyone was being thrown in jail, but you get my point.

Published in 1300, the book describes Polo’s travels through Asia between 1271 and 1295, and his experiences at the court of Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan.

Note that when I say ‘describes’, I mean describes. World Digital Library writes that “Marco Polo’s account was not just a simple record of the journey, but a description of the world—a mixture of a travel report, legend, hearsay, and practical information,” and, for better or worse, serves as one of the few travelogue to the Eastern regions of that era.

 

1. Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet

Images Via Amazon and Via Paris Review

Jean Genet did time for petty theft. During his stay, Jean was given paper intended to be made into his bags. He broke the rules and wrote Our Lady of the Flowers. This didn’t go well. Once the manuscript was discovered, Jean Genet’s book was confiscated and burned. End of story, right?

 

 

Nope!

As Jean Genet would later say, “.…[I] got into bed, pulled the covers over my head and tried to remember, word for word, the fifty pages I had written. I think I succeeded.

Completed in 1942, the book was published anonymously at the end of 1943, but was again published in 1944. Genet would later remove several passages because many readers mistook it for erotica.

Given that Genet wrote this book twice, the least you can do is read it.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Dribble 

5 Cocktails Oscar Wilde Would Have Absolutely Smashed

Today is the anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Published in 1891, the novel’s hedonistic bent and homosexual undertones (and overtones) have since made it both notorious and a much-loved classic. The novel follows the moral descent of Dorian Gray, a handsome young gentleman whose soul is forever trapped within a painting. As Gray’s depravity deepens, his face in the painting grows increasingly marred with sin… while his face remains forever young, beautiful, and innocent.

Booze & Bookstr is back at it for thirsty Thursday, and we all know Oscar Wilde was thirsty in more ways than one. That’s less an insult than a badge of honor—Wilde remains notorious for his love of both life and debauchery, two things that the writer would not deem separate. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, he writes, “the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Tempted to grab some bottles and drink with us? Remember: drink responsibly and read voraciously!

 

 

 

 

Absinthe cocktails

Wilde notoriously touted both love and hate for the green fairy: “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” So not only would he partake of the next few beverages, he’d probably drink more of them than you.

1. Billionaire Cocktail

 

Image Via Stacie Flinner

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. high-proof bourbon, such as Baker’s
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 12 oz. simple syrup
  • 14 oz. absinthe bitters or absinthe
  • 12 oz. grenadine syrup made from pomegranate
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

Oscar Wilde enjoyed the finer things in life and always thought that they were worth paying for: “when I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know that it is.”

 

2. The Jaded Lady

 

Image Via Deskgram

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce absinthe
  • 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce lemon-parsley infused simple syrup (see ingredients below)
  • 3 drops aromatic bitters
  • For garnishing: 1 lemon, a few sprigs of fresh mint leaves

Wilde had a rather pessimistic view of monogamy, shaking down the institution of marriage with his unrelenting wit: “men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.” That would be enough to leave any lady jaded.

 

Champagne Cocktails

It’s not every day that someone’s love of champagne literally makes history, but here we are, 119 years after Wilde’s death, discussing how the infamous dandy instructed staff to serve champagne “at intervals” throughout the day. Apparently, Wilde’s love of the bubbly made its way onto the record during his trial:

Mr. Oscar Wilde: Yes; iced champagne is a favourite drink of mine–strongly against my doctor’s orders.
Mr. Edward Carson, QC: Never mind your doctor’s orders, sir!
Mr. Oscar Wilde: I never do.

Given that the doctor’s orders say that one serving of French fries is, like, twelve f*cking French fries, I think we’ll all have to ignore them.

3. French 75

 

Image Via Serious Eats

 

Ingredients:

• 2 oz. London dry gin

• 1 tsp. superfine sugar

• 1/2 oz. lemon juice

• 5 oz. brut champagne

Oscar Wilde wisely said, “when good Americans die, they go to Paris.” But when you try this cocktail, you’ll be LIVING.

 

4. Red Eye

 

Image Via SeriouslyHungry

 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
  • 3 oz. Prosecco
  • 4 dashes Scrappy’s chocolate bitters
  • 2 dashes saltwater
  • Garnish with a lemon peel

Why sleep when you could be out living? “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all,” Oscar Wilde said—especially people who are passing out at 9 P.M. You’ll definitely be living rather than existing when you’re wide awake for the most entertaining hours of the nighttime.

 

And the ultimate combo…

5. Death in the afternoon

 

Image Via NYT Cooking

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz absinthe
  • 4 12 oz champagne

Oscar Wilde would smash and get smashed.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Eventbrite.

madonna

Oxford University Opens Explicit Book Collection After 100 Years

Madonna and Oscar Wilde have more in common than their status as icons of the LGBT+ community: they’re both authors of ‘obscene’ works. After 136 years of censorship, Oxford University is opening its restricted collection—one of the world’s largest—to the public in a historic exhibition.

 

Madonna, author and curator of 'Sex'

Image Via Siriusxm.blogspot.com

 

Though her pop star persona has somehow eclipsed her literary career, Madonna is the author of controversial coffee-table book SexThe carefully curated collection of erotic and soft-core photos landed her a spot in the Oxford Bodleian Library’s restricted collection alongside author superstars D.H. Lawrence and Oscar Wilde. Lawrence achieved lasting notoriety for his novel Lady Chatterley’s Loverthe distinctly not soft-core tale of an unsatisfied paraplegic’s wife… and her trysts with the estate gardener. The novel was famously subject to an intense obscenity trial: the copy from the trial itself recently sold for a record-breaking $72,689.

 

Wilde never wrote anything so overtly sexual, but at one point, society deemed his work obscene. The Picture of Dorian Gray faced controversy for its homosexual elements. In Oscar Wilde’s own sodomy trial, accusers used his work as evidence to convict him. Wilde’s imprisonment (and his work’s original placement in the restricted collection) is yet another example of how society has historically conflated homosexuality with deviancy. 

 

Oscar Wilde, author of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Image Via En.wikipedia.org

 

Curator Jennifer Ingleheart acknowledges the censorship and misjudgments of the past, and she has created the exhibit to explore “how ideas about sexuality and suitable reading material have changed over time.” The ideas Victorian librarians had about suitable reading material were, in a word, Victorian (read: prudish). These are the kinds of ideas that cause restricted sections. Somewhat unbelievably, Oxford University students (otherwise known as real adults) had until recently needed a tutor’s approval to access the collection. Starting on November 15, 2018, the Bodleian Library’s ‘obscene works’ will be available to the public for eight weeks.

 

 

Featured Image Via News.unl.edu

rainbow books

5 Most Frequently Banned LGBT+ Classics

October is LGBTQIA+ History Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the stories so many writers and individuals have been (and sometimes still are) unable to tell. These five novels have persisted through ruthless bans and censorship efforts to fill our hearts and our bookcases.

 

It’s important to note that this list does not address the full history of LGBTQIA+ literature. Virginia Woolf‘s Mrs. Dalloway, published as far back as 1925, features a bisexual protagonist who reflects on her relationships with men and a young female flame—  of course, Woolf does not call her bisexual. It’s perhaps for that reason that this book has been controversial more for its inclusion of mental illness than for its bisexual elements. Another of Woolf’s works, Orlando, features a protagonist whose gender abruptly changes halfway through the novel. This book also faced little controversy—  perhaps the public saw this change in gender as more of a metaphor than a nuanced commentary on gender identity. The term ‘transgender’ as we know it did not exist before the 1960s, though gender-nonconforming individuals were definitely present.

 

 

Rainbow LGBT+ Book

Image via tabletmag.com

 

 

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

 

One of the most famous writers of all time, decadent intellectual Oscar Wilde reminds us of his wit, charisma, and tragic imprisonment. A notoriously well-dressed and charming member of the era’s wealthy intelligentsia, Wilde suffered a terrible decline at the end of his lifetime. Two years of hard labor and imprisonment laid waste to his health, psyche, and bank account. Destitute at the time of his death, Wilde himself said: “I can write, but have lost the joy of writing.” His crime? Homosexuality. Wilde was the subject of two sodomy trials in 1895, and he died at the age of forty-six— only three years after the end of his sentence. The courts used Wilde’s own works as evidence to convict him. Though the novel’s homoerotic passages contributed to its author’s imprisonment, The Picture of Dorian Gray remains a crucial part of Wilde’s enduring legacy.

 

'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde

Image via penguinrandomhouse.com

 

The novel focuses on young, attractive aristocrat Dorian Gray, whose soul is trapped within a portrait. As Gray sinks further into decadence and cruelty, he remains outwardly unchanged… but the new, visceral ugliness in the portrait shows what Gray has become. The Picture of Dorian Gray faced heavy criticism in its time. Contemporary newspapers called it “heavy with… the odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction.” In 1891, Wilde revised the original publication for its formal book released, removing the more homoerotic chapters. Fortunately, after over 120 years, the uncensored original text is now available to the public. As one of the original edits was the removal of the word ‘mistress,’ it seems Wilde’s intent was to present Gray as bisexual.

 

 

2. Maurice (1971)

 

Best known for his novel A Passage to India, E.M. Forster secretly wrote this novel depicting a loving homosexual relationship. As he feared the controversy his work may face, particularly as a gay man himself, he kept the work hidden with specific instructions that it must only receive posthumous publication. Attitudes at the time were so negative that Forster concealed his own desires for many years, not acting on his homosexuality until the age of twenty-seven. Though he wrote the work from 1913-1914 as a much younger man, the public did not read it until after his death. Famously, his final comment on the manuscript reads: “Publishable. But worth it?”

 

'Maurice' by E.M. Forster

Image via amazon.com

 

Maurice is a groundbreaking work beyond its gay elements, featuring working class characters and situations that other historical gay writers, including Oscar Wilde, did not address. More importantly, it also gives gay characters happy endings. The ‘Bury Your Gays‘ trope, a phenomenon in which authors often kill LGBTQIA+ characters (or shower them with endless misfortune) is sadly commonplace in historic and contemporary works of fiction. This pessimistic viewpoint suggests that to be LGBTQIA+ is only ever awful, that these characters and people don’t get happy endings. Forster, conversely, regards homosexual love as one of the deepest forms of connection— as opposed to relationships with the motive of procreation, homosexuality’s “only purpose is love, so it can result in a spiritual union between two people.”

 

3. Giovanni’s Room  (1976)

 

James Baldwin‘s impressive novel about an American man’s overseas affair with another man (Parisian bartender Giovanni) almost didn’t exist. When Baldwin himself arrived arrived in Paris in 1948 with no more than $41 to his name, he sought refuge from the bigotry of the United States, a place where he felt his writing came second to his race. Baldwin’s agent would eventually confirm these fears, telling him to burn the manuscript over fears that his sexuality would further alienate his audience.

 

'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin

Image via amazon.com

 

Baldwin’s novel explores themes of alienation reminiscent of Nella Larsen‘s Passingthe Harlem Renaissance story of a black protagonist with a lighter skin color that enables her to ‘pass’ as a white person. Giovanni’s Room also comments upon the eternal catch-22 of marginalized identities— concealing them may, at times, be safer… but it can also be infinitely damaging. The novel stands the test of time as a complex portrait of homosexuality and bisexuality.

 

4. The Color Purple (1982)

 

Alice Walker‘s renowned epistolary novel is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the first black woman to ever do so. Walker’s novel unfolds in the format of letters written to God, starting with violent subject matter and ending in redemption. It is also one of the most banned books in the U.S. today. While some of the controversy has to do with violence and explicitness, much criticism also surrounds the open depiction of protagonist Celie’s lesbian feelings— particularly, the openly sexual description of Celie’s attraction to women. The film adaptation even participates in the novel’s censorship, limiting expression of Celie’s true sexual identity

 

'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker

Image via amazon.co.uk

 

The depiction of Celie’s sexual identity is unambiguous; Walker writes that Celie and lover Shug “kiss and kiss til [they] can hardly kiss no more.” (And no, it doesn’t stop there.) It’s a queer story, but it’s also so much more. Protagonist Celie is an illiterate black woman, pregnant at 14-years-old—  not the kind of character canonized literature typically includes. The novel boldly depicts the transformative power of love, showing how love can make the powerless powerful in the end. While the novel has ranked on the Top 100 Banned & Challenged Books List, Walker’s story remains a powerful tale of underrepresented characters.

 

 

5. Middlesex (2002)

 

It’s difficult to imagine that a ‘historic classic’ could have been published within our own century. But up until this unique moment in time, both intersex and transgender stories have not been a part of the literary canon. When it comes to published books, they’ve hardly existed at all— despite the millions of people who live these stories daily. Jeffrey Eugenides‘ novel, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, brought explorations of gender identity into public eye and onto bookshelves around the world. Texas prisons have banned the book due to its supposedly controversial subject matter.

 

'Middlesex' by Jeffrey Eugenides

Image via amazon.com

 

Intersex protagonist Cal’s parents raised him to be a girl. When he discovers his male genetics, he comes to embrace what he feels is his true identity. Eugenides’ bildungsroman is a novel of uncertain dichotomies (male and female, Greek and American, nature and nurture, present and future) and the nebulous space between two binary opposites. The novel opens: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” These words address the oft-unheard voices of those throughout the world whose gender identities may not always correspond with their bodies.

 

Rainbow LGBT+ Books

Image via queenslibrary.org

 

It’s incredibly important to note that this list does not address the full spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identities. Some identities, including pansexuality, asexuality, nonbinary genders, and many more, are only recently entering a larger public consciousness. As such, there are few overt depictions of such identities in classic works of literature. Likely, that will change in time. Maybe you will even be the one to change it.

 

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7 Legendary Authors Who Only Wrote a Single Novel

Readers everywhere have often experienced the profound, baffling, and exciting experience of trying to find more novels written by your favorite author just to realize there are none. 

 

When we think of novels and the ways in which they have shaped our literary minds and the world around us, it can be quite baffling to realize that the incredible, shocking, and intense nature of the novel isn’t always followed up by another work.   

 

While many novelists, from Jane Austen to Stephen King, are known for their variety of works, here are some famous authors who have only published a single novel. 

 

1. J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

 

rye

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye was immediately thrust into the spotlight for its haunting coming-of-age portrayal of Holden Caulfield, an angsty rebellious teen who managed to both resonate with many readers and offend others. The Catcher in the Rye, which has frequently been banned by schools all over the country, was Salinger’s only novel. 

 

He also released an array of novellas and short stories including the novella Franny and Zooey, and his collection of short stories Nine Stories (1953), which featured “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “The Laughing Man.” Salinger published his last written work, the novella Hapworth 16, 1924 in 1965. He passed away in January of 2010, leaving us with the legacy of The Catcher in the Rye.

 

2. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

dorian

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1890, The Picture of Dorian Gray was written during the Victorian Era and challenged its rigid sexual and ethical norms by portraying a seductive young man whose narcissism and scandalous behavior becomes his downfall. Though the novel’s editor reportedly removed 500 provocative words from the unpublished manuscript, the blatant sexual tones, homosexual undertones, and depictions of violent crime were met with controversy and criticism.  

 

While Oscar Wilde wrote an array of short stories and plays, notably The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray was his only novel and he passed away just ten years after it was published.

 

3. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

 

Wuthering Heights

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1847 under the pseudonym “Ellis Bell,” Wuthering Heights was met with mixed reviews. It was criticized for the selfishness of its characters, however garnered praise for its originality and the power of the author. 

 

While the title is considered a classic today and is praised by readers and critics alike, Brontë was unable to experience the positive reception in her lifetime, dying just one year after the novels release. 

 

4. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

 

bell jar

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1963 under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas,” The Bell Jar offers fans a haunting representaion of mental illness. The novel is centered around a protagonist who falls into a spiral of insomnia, depression, anxiety, and more. The semi-autobiographical novel presented an honest and unflinching portrayal of the protagonists descent and gave readers an insight into the Plath herself who used her real-life experiences as inspiration.

 

Plath tragically died roughly one month after the novel’s release. She was working on a second novel, Double Exposure, at the time of her death but the unfinished novel disappeared after Plath’s husband inherited her estate. Along with a collection of short stories and much poetry, The Bell Jar remains Plath’s only published novel.

 

5. Arthur Golden, Memoirs of A Geisha

 

memoirs

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1997, Memoirs of A Geisha was a long-time coming, having been written over the course of 6 years. Golden became inspired by Geisha culture while living in Japan and meeting an individual whose mother was a geisha in her younger days. The time it took to complete the novel was partially due to Golden shifting the novel’s perspective back and forth between third-person and first-person and destroying two drafts before his final unpublished draft, he told CNN.

 

The 6 years paid off as Memoirs of A Geisha spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Though the novel was a popular success, and was adapted into Academy-Award winning film, Golden never published another book. 

 

 

6. Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

 

doctor

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1957, Doctor Zhivago barely made the cut, having been written under Soviet rule. The novel was originally rejected from USSR publishers because of its challenging of socialism and many of the cultural norms of the Soviet Union. 

 

The novel exists today because Pasternak smuggled the manuscript out of the Soviet Union and into Milan. The novel earned Pasternak a Nobel Prize in 1958, two years before his death. While Doctor Zhivago wasn’t his only written work, it remains his only novel published.

 

7. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

 

invisible man

Via Amazon

 

Published in 1952, The Invisible Man brought issues of racial identity, perception, and division to print. It’s startling depictions were met with acclaim from critics and readers alike, and it won the US National Book Award in 1953.

 

Invisible Man remains Ellison’s only novel published during his lifetime until his death in 1994. Before his death he was working on a second novel, Juneteenth, however a fire destroyed the original manuscript.. Ellison re-wrote a partial manuscript beofre his death and the novel was finished by editors John Callahan and Adam Bradley. It was published in 2010 with a new title, Three Days Before the Shooting.

 

 

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