There could be several reasons why an author would regret making their work known to the whole world. The work might have caused socio-political tensions, inspired violence or other deviant activities, overshadowed other, more brilliant work of the author or simply may not be considered good enough by the author. Whatever the case may be, it’s an incredible tragedy that work that the world sees as beautiful and genius (many of the books on this list are classics), the author considers unworthy. Here we have mentioned 14 times when authors regretted publishing their work.
14 Times When Authors Regretted Publishing Their Work:
- A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Winnie The Pooh by A A Milne
- Close Range by Annie Proulx
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- Rage by Stephen King
- Survivor by Octavia E Butler
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Anarchist’s Cookbook by William Powell
- Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
- Self by Yann Martel
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
Renowned author and creator of Hercule Poirot, perhaps the most well known fictional detective in the world, detests the character. And because she finds her own character so unlikeable, she also hates the books he features as the protagonist in.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The reason Doyle regrets publishing the books that made him skyrocket to fame is that this fame overshadowed his other books, which had greater literary substance. His creation of the legendary Sherlock Holmes deviated attention from his works of historical fiction, which he considers his more superior works.
Winnie The Pooh by A A Milne
Milne maintains that the wonderful and beloved children’s character brought him nothing but ‘empty fame’. They not only overshadowed his other works for adults but also were disliked by his son, Christopher on whose behalf he wrote them.
Close Range by Annie Proulx
Annie wishes she could withdraw her work from publication because of the audience reaction to it. She feels that the audience has completely misconstrued her point and what she had to say. They kept asking for a happier ending, but she did not find it befitting for a serious story about homosexuality.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Burgess was so disappointed in his own work that he literally wrote a poem asking readers not to read it and suggesting better works. He says in ‘A Sonnet For Emily Collegiate Institute’ that he has written better works, and so have others. He even calls his famous novella a ‘farrago’.
Rage by Stephen King
Stephen King withdrew this book from publication because of the disastrous repercussions it had. His fictional story involved a student bringing a gun to school, and was connected with a bunch of school shootings that happened around the same time. He felt that this book could act as a potential trigger to those with violent tendencies, and hence banned the book from publication.
Survivor by Octavia E Butler
Butler, one of the greatest Black writers the world has seen, dislikes her writing style in this book. She claims to have used a lot of sci-fi cliches and describes her book as ‘really offensive garbage.’
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Considered one of the finest classics in English literature, Alcott never wanted to publish this book in the first place. She did it for her father’s sake since his publishing depended on her writing this book. She found it dull and was remorseful that fans asked her about her heroine’s marital choices, which she says aren’t the ‘end and aim of a woman’s life’.
The Anarchist’s Cookbook by William Powell
Powell has gone a step too far with hating his book – he has put up notices on amazon asking people NOT to buy it. Opposite marketing much? His harsh criticism of his own book is because he wrote it when the US military was set on sending him to Vietnam on war. However, now he realizes that violence cannot drown violence.
Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut ranked all his books with letter grades in an essay ‘Palm Beach’ and this particular book was ranked the lowest.
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
JD Salinger was an excessively private man who did not gel well with fame. Hence when the work he spent a laborious decade on perfecting skyrocketed to fame, he disliked it thoroughly. He immediately left the city and centre of attention as well.
Self by Yann Martel
In the preface to ‘Life of Pi’, Martel deems his earlier novel as a failure. He says that even though the technicalities were in place, a crucial life-bringing element was missing and his writer’s instinct told him it wouldn’t work.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Wilde considered the comic drama as the area of literary work he thrived at, and disliked his novel. Today, not only is it a beloved classic but also the favourite book of people all across the world.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The reason for Lewis’ hatred of this fantasy children’s classic is similar to Salinger’s. In a letter to his lover, he said that he regretted becoming a novelist because he despised fame and its implications.
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