In Paul Collins' "The Book of William," which Nicholas A. Basbanes reviewed in Wednesday's L.A. Times, we learn about the highly sought First Folio of 1623, a collection of Shakespeare's plays that never would have taken shape if it had been left up to the Bard. Collins writes how scholars are astonished by Shakespeare's neglect of his own work. "How," these scholars wonder, "could a man throw everything he'd done into the abyss ... and not leave his own manuscripts behind?"
Collins offers this commonsense explanation:
At the blog Gumbo Writer, Angie Ledbetter offers some thoughts on whether or not to keep one's old work in a recent interview with Harvey Stanbrough. In response to Sylvia Plath's opinion that "nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing," Stanbrough argues that some writing just needs to sit around and gestate a while. I think he misses the point -- Plath was talking about finished work, not drafts -- but it's still a good issue to consider.
What do you think? Are you keeping a finished novel in the desk drawer that is going to stun readers one day, or are did it go into the recycle bin?
-- Nick Owchar
Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times