Monday, September 28, 2009

Voices from Beyond: Posthumous Works & Anne Frank

Steve pointed out two recent Wall Street Journal articles of interest:

“Ghost Writers” is about the wave of posthumous, unfinished books about to be unleashed on us, including works by David Foster Wallace, Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, and Graham Greene:

“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. An unfinished murder mystery by Graham Greene, which is being serialized in the literary magazine, "The Strand," was slammed on the Los Angeles Times's literary blog, Jacket Copy, as "a far cry" from Greene's later works, such as "The Power and the Glory."

“While some attribute the surge in posthumous publications to macabre coincidence, others say publishers are more aggressively seeking works by famous dead authors because they have established audiences—an irresistible prospect for a struggling industry….”

Read the whole thing here.

And here’s an interview with Francine Prose, who has written a book about Anne Frank and her diary. Excerpt:

WSJ: To you, Anne Frank was more than a young diarist; she was a disciplined writer.

FP: In 1944, her last spring in the attic, she heard a Dutch minister in exile on the radio say that after the war, there would be interest in the stories of what ordinary Dutch people had suffered. That's when she got the idea of publishing her diary, and she went back to the beginning and started to rewrite. She was writing more than 10 pages a day, with no privacy, terrible food shortages, the horror of not being able to make a sound all day and the constant fear of betrayal.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.