Author Topic: Disowned Books  (Read 3764 times)

Pepotamo1985

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Disowned Books
« on: January 14, 2018, 10:02:51 PM »
Sam Leith said in a 2012 review of Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis: The Biography "anything a writer disowns is of interest" and I agree. Directors who've disowned films, actors etc. who've disowned particular projects, musicians who've disowned albums - if not bands they've been involved in, and/or entire stretches of their careers - are well known. Less well documented - at least to my mind - are authors who've sought to repudiate their works.

Leith wrote in reference to Amis himself pretending Invasion of the Space Invaders never happened, perhaps one of the better known authorial renunciations in history, which is explored reasonably interestingly here - https://themillions.com/2012/02/the-arcades-project-martin-amis-guide-to-classic-video-games.html.

However, I'm interested in other examples of this phenomenon - and the how's why's and what's of it all, if they do exist.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 12:46:34 AM »
$77 on eBay. If I had a slightly better paying job, maybe?

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 10:32:32 AM »
Don Delillo co-wrote a novel about a female ice hockey player called Amazons. I've never read it, but it sounds uncharacteristically cheap. He evidently isn't a fan, to the point that he's spent the rest of his career trying to erase it from history, and even asked his publishers to remove it from a catalogue of his work. Unfortunately for him, a lot of Delillo fans are fascinated with the book; I was at a Delillo conference a few months ago, and an awful lot of the fans and scholars there seemed obsessed with it. Even worse for Delillo, the fascination was something akin to David Bowie fans listening to The Laughing Gnome.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 11:31:31 AM »
I think I saw a Stewart Lee interview where he made reference to having successfully prevented his novel being reprinted.

Ian Fleming prevented reprints of The Spy Who Loved Me too, I think.

Danger Man

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 12:15:45 PM »
B S Johnson disowned his first novel, Travelling People (1963), and it has never been reprinted.

Somebody on here must have read it. Any good?

daf

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2018, 12:32:09 PM »
Nancy Mitford refused to allow a reissue of Wigs on the Green (a 1935 spoof on the British Union of Fascists) after the war (it finally got it's second edition after her death in 2010)

Quote
Using her sisters' wild fervor for Fascism (and, in Unity's case, Adolf Hitler and Nazism) as fodder for her satire, Nancy Mitford originally constellated her plot around the character of Captain Jack, leader of the Union Jackshirts (an obvious double for Diana's lover and future husband Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists) and styled Eugenia Malmains after Unity. Mitford, always fond of cruel teases, was taken aback when Diana took offense to the novel and tried to placate her sister by excising the three chapters that dealt directly with her husband's caricature. Nevertheless, the book created a deep rift between the sisters.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wigs_on_the_Green

Quote
Every joke – even a clever if light-hearted satire – has its moment: by the time Mitford’s publisher asked for permission to reissue the novel, in 1951, the world had changed. As she wrote to Evelyn Waugh, “Too much has happened for jokes about Nazis to be regarded as…anything but the worst of taste”.
https://thebooksthatbuiltme.co.uk/2016/05/22/wigs-on-the-green-nancy-mitford/

Serge

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2018, 01:12:26 PM »
I suppose Julian Cope's refusal to republish Krautrocksampler fits in here. Although he has said in interviews that he only ever intended it as a thing to blow the doors off and get people back into the music (and by extension, get other people writing about it, which has certainly worked), I think he does also feel slightly embarrassed by the fact that it's riddled with errors and almost certainly wasn't as deeply researched as his later Japrocksampler or books on stone circles. Having re-read it (again) within the last year, I don't think that the errors are bad enough to warrant it not being republished, but he's also not keen on revising and rewriting it, either. Which is a shame.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2018, 08:37:51 PM »
B S Johnson disowned his first novel, Travelling People (1963), and it has never been reprinted.

Somebody on here must have read it. Any good?

I have- I saw a very battered paperback of it at a flea market, and I was vaguely aware that it had not been reprinted, so I picked it up.
 
My memory is that it was fine- it was a few years ago that I read it, so I am afraid that I can't go into any greater depth than that. I don't remember seeing it recently so I may have lost it.

Shamefully it remains the only BS Johnson I've read so far, which is something I really should do something about.

Jon Ronson gets embarrassed whenever Clubbed Class is mentioned- again, I read this absolutely years ago and I don't remember it being that bad.


Talulah, really!

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 09:42:53 PM »
I actually picked up a copy of J.G.Ballard's first novel The Wind from Nowhere which he disowned and stopped from being republished, (in this edition.)


Apparently he wrote it quickly and considered it a bit of hackwork, it is similar to the novels that followed, The Drowned World, The Drought, The Crystal World et al, in that a Scifi cataclysm engulfs the world and focuses on a group of survivors, however unlike the later typical Ballard novels, there is no mention of the effect that the change on the natural world has on the interior psychology of the characters, the famed 'inner space' dimension of his work being pretty much absent.

Graham Greene disowned his 2nd and 3rd Novels, The Name of Action and Rumour at Nightfall and Andy Miller's The Year of Reading Dangerously has a section on going to the British Library to read The Name of Action, he concurs with the author, the book is terrible. He also loves Krautrocksampler.

Ivy Compton Burnett similarly didn't think much of her first novel Dolores especially its title which didn't fit her Austenesque formula of (A thing) and (A thing) that she used for nearly all her other, rather more singular, novels.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 01:11:57 AM »
Dennis Cooper has disowned basically anything he published before Closer, with the exception I think of The Tenderness of the Wolves. I don't think he has enough clout to stop his publishers from reissuing his old stuff, though.

Serge

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 01:30:40 PM »
Andy Miller's The Year of Reading Dangerously has a section on going to the British Library to read The Name of Action, he concurs with the author, the book is terrible. He also loves Krautrocksampler.

Yeah, I remember being quite happy about the fact that Krautrocksampler was one of the books that completely reignited his passion for reading. I know he had to read it from the PDF version that's floating around online and that two pages were missing - I was so tempted to scan them and send them to him, but I suspect I'm not the only person who had that idea.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 10:23:50 PM »
I think Morrissey distanced himself from the bilge he wrote about James Dean.

Danger Man

  • Delia Nottinghamshire
Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 09:36:26 PM »
Shamefully it remains the only BS Johnson I've read so far, which is something I really should do something about.

You could just read Like a Fiery Elephant The Story of B.S. Johnson By Jonathan Coe . It covers everything and doesn't require any knowledge of B S Johnson to be an enjoyable read.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 09:36:26 AM »
I actually picked up a copy of J.G.Ballard's first novel The Wind from Nowhere which he disowned and stopped from being republished, (in this edition.)


Apparently he wrote it quickly and considered it a bit of hackwork, it is similar to the novels that followed, The Drowned World, The Drought, The Crystal World et al, in that a Scifi cataclysm engulfs the world and focuses on a group of survivors, however unlike the later typical Ballard novels, there is no mention of the effect that the change on the natural world has on the interior psychology of the characters, the famed 'inner space' dimension of his work being pretty much absent.


I've got this edition too, I love the cover.  Unfortunately I think the great man was right about this one, I found it to be turgid and unremarkable, and I love all the other "disaster" novels by him.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 07:02:15 PM »
You could just read Like a Fiery Elephant The Story of B.S. Johnson By Jonathan Coe . It covers everything and doesn't require any knowledge of B S Johnson to be an enjoyable read.

I would like to read that as well, because the life seems pretty remarkable. But I feel like I should read more of his stuff first. I have been meaning to for years and years.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 07:08:41 PM »
Burgess and A Clockwork Orange.

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 08:41:17 PM »
I would like to read that as well, because the life seems pretty remarkable. But I feel like I should read more of his stuff first. I have been meaning to for years and years.

I seem to remember reading it having only read The Unfortunates and Christie Malry's Own Double Entry. They're two brilliant books that I'd recommend to anyone anyway, and I think they gave me a good enough grounding to appreciate the biography. To be fair, there are plenty of excerpts of his work in it too (possibly because Johnson was obscure enough at the time that it was unreasonable to expect someone to have read much of his writing) so you should be fine either way. And, of course, Coe is a very good writer in his own right.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2018, 09:34:25 AM »
Stephen King has let an early Bachman book, Rage, go out of print because it inspired (or at least part-inspired) a series of school shootings.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2018, 03:09:35 PM »
Sam Leith said in a 2012 review of Richard Bradford’s Martin Amis: The Biography "anything a writer disowns is of interest" and I agree. Directors who've disowned films, actors etc. who've disowned particular projects, musicians who've disowned albums - if not bands they've been involved in, and/or entire stretches of their careers - are well known. Less well documented - at least to my mind - are authors who've sought to repudiate their works.

Leith wrote in reference to Amis himself pretending Invasion of the Space Invaders never happened, perhaps one of the better known authorial renunciations in history, which is explored reasonably interestingly here - https://themillions.com/2012/02/the-arcades-project-martin-amis-guide-to-classic-video-games.html.

Bump. Oddly, according to Amazon, this book is due to be reissued in November.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2018, 05:28:54 PM »
Stephen King has let an early Bachman book, Rage, go out of print because it inspired (or at least part-inspired) a series of school shootings.

It is in the Bachman book collection along with the Long Walk, The Running Man and Roadworks (or whatever it's called can't 'member).

It is a tough read.

Doesn't this create a Streisand effect though? You renounce something people are always going to want to know about it. Best thing you can do other than maybe be deliberately offensive or die.

Annie Labuntur

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2018, 06:04:03 PM »
Bump. Oddly, according to Amazon, this book is due to be reissued in November.

More dental bills?

pigamus

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2018, 06:22:34 PM »
It is in the Bachman book collection along with the Long Walk, The Running Man and Roadworks (or whatever it's called can't 'member).

It was - it isn't any more.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2018, 08:28:29 PM »
I think I saw a Stewart Lee interview where he made reference to having successfully prevented his novel being reprinted.

Alas, he wasn't quite as successful as he thought. This one is not only available but it's on Amazon's In-Stock Protection list, which means it's never more than 24 hours from delivery if you want it that bad...

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2018, 11:03:17 PM »
Is Stew's book any good?

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2018, 12:28:12 AM »
The idea of Martin Amis actually playing Space Invaders is extremely funny to me.

EDIT: And that brief interlude where Amis discusses seeing a talking video game with (possibly) Christopher Hitchens reads top to bottom like a scene from Withnail and I.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2018, 05:29:36 PM »
Alas, he wasn't quite as successful as he thought. This one is not only available but it's on Amazon's In-Stock Protection list, which means it's never more than 24 hours from delivery if you want it that bad...

It is possible this is a false memory, but I seem to remember him using Notbbc to flog remaindered copies of it that he'd saved from pulping back in the day.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2018, 12:03:03 AM »
Is Stew's book any good?

It's alright.

Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2018, 11:19:28 AM »
The idea of Martin Amis actually playing Space Invaders is extremely funny to me.


Back in print in November,  according to Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Invasion-Space-Invaders-Addicts-Machines/dp/1787331199/ref=mp_s_a_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1528453012&sr=8-22&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=martin+amis

Edit. Sorry, completely redundant post.

Pepotamo1985

  • British people in hot weather
Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2018, 12:26:03 AM »
Bump. Oddly, according to Amazon, this book is due to be reissued in November.

That's bloody interesting. I'll have to buy/steal it, if only for the pic of Spielberg.

Also gonna have to buy a copy of Perfect Fool now too.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

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Re: Disowned Books
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2018, 08:32:21 PM »
B S Johnson disowned his first novel, Travelling People (1963), and it has never been reprinted.

Somebody on here must have read it. Any good?

Yes and yes.