On this day in 1956, while visiting the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Ernest Hemingway was alerted by the staff that he’d had two trunks stored there since the 1920s, and if he didn’t claim them, they’d be tossed in the trash. Hemingway was surprised when he claimed the luggage and found lost manuscripts and notes, some of which would eventually make up A Moveable Feast, one of the most famous literary memoirs ever.
Remembering the unlikely rescue of Hemingway’s work gives us a moment to pause and think about all the work by all the greats that didn’t actually make it. Whether tossed into the fire, stolen, or just plain lost in a box somewhere, here are a few storied pieces of writing that we’ll probably never get to read.
Parts two and three of Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
It’s hard to believe that one of the pillars of Russian literature is actually an unfinished masterpiece, but that’s the case with Gogol’s classic, which he tossed into the fireplace at the suggestion of Father Matthew Konstantinovskii.