A Boy Named Seuss, or, The Skrunk With The Trunk
It’s true: a previously unpublished Dr. Seuss book, discovered in 2013 by his widow Audrey Geisel, will be out this July, to be followed by two more. Between that, and Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, it’s been a good month for discovering presumed-lost manuscripts.
There are precedents, of course; nine of the ten volumes of L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth series were published after his death (and were totally bought by actual, book-reading people, rather than en masse by the Church of Scientology to inflate sales). Tupac – excuse me, 2pac – continued to release albums long after his death – though the fact that he sometimes went by the alter-ego Makaveli calls that whole death thing into question.
Then there’s the queen of posthumous releases, V.C. Andrews, who published seven novels during her life, and sixty-six after. For a few years the Andrews estate kept up the pretense that these manuscripts had been “found in a trunk” (the preferred storage method of posthumously-released manuscripts, apparently), but now are apparently fine with everyone knowing that the “V.C. Andrews” name is the important part of the recipe. Take several sexually confused children, add an American gothic setting, season with one insane grandmother. Serves generations of troubled teen girls.
One is relieved that the same never happened to John Kennedy Toole, whose only releases were posthumous. After Toole’s suicide in 1969, his mother campaigned to have A Confederacy Of Dunces published. It’s almost a relief that his only other published work was The Neon Bible, that no ghost writers were hired to pen further tales of obsessive loners in New Orleans.
If you’ve heard Kevin Smith’s famous talk about spending a week at Prince’s mansion, you know that “The Artist Formerly Known As “The Artist Formerly Known As “Prince””” famously has a vault full of unreleased recordings, complete with accompanying videos. I have a theory that he’s putting them aside for just this reason; his ego, so inversely proportional to his stature, won’t let a thing like death stop the flow of purple-hued funk. Eye guarantee U will C new Prince releases 4 years.