Peake is best known for his Gormenghast series of novels, about a ruling family in a crappy little country that floods regularly and seems to be surrounded on all sides by every kind of impassable obstacle short of Koopas and Piranha Plants. The Gormenghast of the title is a massive castle full of people performing rituals that have absolutely no meaning to them, but are carried on because they are tradition.
You might be detecting just a little whiff of satire.
Unfortunately, Peake died before he could edit "Titus Alone", the third book in the series. But that didn't stop his publisher from editing it with a weed whacker and then putting it out to exploit his fans, something the fans took a dim view of, especially since they left out words like "car" and "helicopter", which kind of changes the entire point of the story since it was about the modern world.
Dr. Seuss wrote children's books. Maybe you've read one?
Needless to say, a guy as popular as Seuss was not going to be left alone, even after he died. Not with all these terrible movie scripts Jim Carrey likes so much just sitting around, ready to be produced. Also, the faster Seuss spins in his grave, the more energy we get off of him. When "Cat in The Hat" came out, we powered the entire Eastern Seaboard for weeks.
Anyway, he had no less than three books published after he'd died, all of which were either illustrated by somebody else, the writing was finished by somebody else, or both, because children are, of course, completely unable to detect charm and talent, and parents will buy the books anyway. At least that's what Seuss's publisher obviously thought; we're not sure the sales will agree with them.
John Kennedy Toole
Toole pretty much lived his entire life obscure and unnoticed, only to commit suicide and suddenly become rich, respected, and famous. We wish more authors would take this route; for Dan Brown, we'd even load the gun with silver bullets. Just because he was obscure didn't mean he wasn't colorful, though. Toole had a domineering mother, a string of odd jobs, and a respected career as a college professor.
Toole wrote one novel, and it's a doozy; "A Confederacy of Dunces", widely considered one of the funniest novels ever written. Unfortunately, it wasn't funny enough for publishers, and that pretty much wiped out Toole's desire to live. He killed himself.
About ten years later, his mom convinced Walker Percy, a respected author and also a college professor, to look at putting "Dunces" into print. It had a print run of about 2500 copies…and wound up becoming a mainstream success that won Toole the Pulitzer Prize and got a novel he wrote as a sixteen-year-old, "The Neon Bible", published too. "Dunces" is widely considered the best depiction of New Orleans put on the page.
Not bad for a guy who never moved out of his mom's place.
Have some more authors being shamelessly exploited by their families? Post them below!
- - Elliot Roosevelt: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/de/Elliott_Roosevelt.jpg
- - David Feintuch: http://michaelthompson.org/seafort/00-midshipman.jpg
- - F. Scott Fitzgerald: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/08/LastTycoon.jpg
- - Franz Kafka: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Kafka_portrait.jpg
- - Mervyn Peake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mervyn_Peake.jpg
- - Dr. Seuss: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Ted_Geisel_NYWTS_2_crop.jpg
- - John Kennedy Toole: http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/aconfederacyofdunces1.jpg