Lost Books/Unrealised Projects

empty mirror

remember the jackalope
snip/To take it one stage further, in Underworld (DeLillo) there is an imaginary lost Eisenstein film which is found and shown.
ha yeah.

Infinite Jest revolves around the Mad Stork's lost film of the same name (as the book).

EDIT: But really----is anything really lost? or just in the wrong hands. or in the wrong place or time. it is all about context and one's expectations.


heavy heavy monster sound
Invisible Man may be my nearest and dearest novel ever.
When you wrote this I was reminded that I'd never read it yet, and I just finished it. What a totally amazing, amazing novel. It's one of the most violent things I've ever read, on a par with Lautreamont.


on account
And then, there are vast numbers of uncompleted projects from the history of architecture, for obvious reasons. Tatlin's Monument to the Third International is amongst the most famous of these.
Yeah, that's a good one. Would love to have seen that built. Bruno Taut's crystal architecture for the alps is my own favourite uncompleted 'building'. Pure unadulterated utopianism. Edwin Lutyen's Liverpool Cathedral is a close second. Gibberd's wigwam rots with concrete cancer in a small corner of its surviving foundations after building was halted by the Second World War. It'd have made St Peters look like a wigwam. Piranesi would have sprung alive just to masturbate in the narthex.
This is Benjamin's archives of notes. There are rumors - perhaps apocryphal - that Benjamin completed a manuscript and then lost it, but this has never been proved.
plus you have the Baudelaire/Poe essays, which might be considered part of that cycle (all of it was unpublished from what i understand, several hundred maybe 1000 pages worth). but that was Benjamin's technique. The recent collected writings series, which has many of the unpublished fragments, is the best collection of his writings imo. Each book covers around 5 years.

i have a .pdf version of the Arcades Project which is about 50-60 MBs

josef k.

Dangerous Mystagogue
I can add to the unrealized list the book which one of the characters is writing in Camus's The Plague, which he never gets past the first sentence of. Also, there is Malcolm Lowry's "The Voyage that Never Ends" which ended with his suicide. And then there was the massive philosophical poem which Wordsworth and Coleridge planned but never executed. And Sartre's Flaubert book, which he never got off the ground.

But as a side note, I think lost books are generally more interesting than unfinished books. Rarer. Any hack can fail to finish something, but it takes a real genius to do it, then lose it.

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
not to open up a vast new field - & probably not really on the same level as Gogol & Kubrick & all - but I think very much in the same spirit...

the endless sea of white labels & dodgy one-off 12"s - hundreds & hundreds just thinking of ardkore & jungle alone (& countless bootleg UKG remixes of late 90s R&B). I find the unknowable stories behind them to be almost as interesting as the music itself - who the hell were these ppl (assuming they weren't more well-known producers)? what motivated them to make these records? why didn't they make more? where are they know?

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I can add to the unrealized list the book which one of the characters is writing in Camus's The Plague...
isn't this actually from The Fall? tho I haven't read either in awhile, I could be wrong.

also I just noticed this:

King Shot is a film by Alejandro Jodorowsky scheduled for release in 2009. The film is co-produced by David Lynch, and the cast includes Nick Nolte, Asia Argento, Mickey Rourke, Marilyn Manson, Udo Kier, and Santiago Segura.
How can it fail to be the best thing ever?
cos the cast includes Asia Argento & Marilyn Manson? tho, Udo Kier. also Mickey Rourke and Nick Nolte - at least they've got the ultragrizzled white dude factor covered.

Ness Rowlah

Norwegian Wood
I did go and see that Aryan Papers unfinished Kubrick project by the Wilson twins and enjoyed it. A classic case of "what if" for the actress who was to be the lead (timing in life, sometimes it just sucks).

The Sunday Times has a piece today on what could have been Kubrick's monumental Napoleon and it looks like Kubrick was caught out previously by markets (both money and other projects coming to "market" first).


‘Have you heard the news? MGM have pulled the plug.’” A change of leadership and an economic downturn had given the studio the jitters. The recent flops Hello, Dolly! and Star! had suddenly made costume romps a high-risk venture. In a statement of January 1969, Napoleon was officially kiboshed.

To boot, the Russian director of War and Peace, Sergei Bondarchuk, had begun shooting Waterloo, with Rod Steiger as the diminutive Corsican. By the time Kubrick had taken his project to United Artists, that, too, had proved a box-office failure. There was no appetite. In need of a quick fix — quick for Kubrick — he sought something he could make relatively simply. He turned to a book by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange.
The book looks like quite something (if you are the sort of person for whom £450 quid is pocket change) - http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/community/video/29678.stanley_kubricks_napoleon.htm
More bloody Jodorowsky

King Shot was due to start shooting this month, if anyone's interested, but it's not clear whether it actually did or not.

Some strange comments upthread about The Holy Mountain feeling like the product of drug-related psychosis. I've never had that vibe at all; Jodorowsky's never been a drug or alcohol user, either.

Also: anyone who's read Mount Analogue and watched The Holy Mountain will know that suggesting the latter is "based on" the former stretches the phrase to breaking point. Mount Analogue is a fine little adventure story with a divertingly weird 'spiritual' aspect to it, but really the film owes no more to it than the idea of rounding up some people to climb a mountain, which it doesn't really begin to do until halfway through.

Perhaps it's partly down to the translation, but I didn't find Mount Analogue that great a novel, I have to say. It doesn't yield much: there's almost a sense of given superiority that Daumal/his main protagonist is on such an important quest that he doesn't have to open it up, or the experiences that led to it, for plebs like us. I think the Gurdjieff influence did him no favours at all; its kind-of-prequel, A Night Of Serious Drinking, is fist-chewingly awful for the most part. He's going for Swiftian satire in that one, but he's hopelessly out of his depth: his starting point seems to be unstated esoteric ideas, so what you're left with – again, only more so – is an unexplained sense of superiority bordering on adolescent misanthropy. And you don't want misanthropy from your spiritual questers, now, do you?

It's a shame, cause I was really looking forward to reading them, on the grounds that I've discovered lots of fascinating stuff through Jodorowsky interviews, DVD commentaries and the like – mainly things you tend not to come across in Anglophone culture.
Last edited:


i havnt read half of these yet
some great books though
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
how did this get in the top 100 its good but not that good


Well-known member
Bruno Schulz's - The Messiah, unfinished before he got shot by the Gestapo (as a polish Jew), and the manuscript lost. Rumoured to be an epic novel, and with a title like that it sounds good. Apparently Thomas Mann got a copy.


Well-known member
The Jodorowsky version of Dune (with Salvador Dali penciled in to play The Emperor of the Universe)
Just to add to the sense of omg what might have been about this, well depending on your musical inclinations I guess, apparently Jodorowsky originally wanted Karlheinz Stockhausen, Henry Cow and Magma to do the musick.

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
For all its faults I really like Lynch's Dune.

On the subject of unrealised projects, how many of you knew that Lynch was on the shortlist of putative directors of Return Of The Jedi? How amazing would THAT have been?


Well-known member
It's not all bad, the Lynch. What's the best version? Last time I watched it was the very long one, ends up having this weird timeless ambient effect, I think I fell asleep for a bit.
Bruno Schulz's - The Messiah, unfinished before he got shot by the Gestapo (as a polish Jew), and the manuscript lost. Rumoured to be an epic novel, and with a title like that it sounds good. Apparently Thomas Mann got a copy.
Wow, I'd never heard that about it. I mean, I knew he'd sent his manuscript away because he guessed it would get destroyed by the Nazis, but but the idea of an epic Schulz novel is . . . well, appetising but hard to imagine. I only heard about Schulz quite recently (after discovering the film of The Hourglass Sanatorium) and he's an all-time fave already.

Just to add to the sense of omg what might have been about this, well depending on your musical inclinations I guess, apparently Jodorowsky originally wanted Karlheinz Stockhausen, Henry Cow and Magma to do the musick.
He had Pink Floyd lined up to do the lot at one point, having bristled at only being offered Gong, Tangerine Dream and Mike bloody Oldfield by Virgin. Dude! I'd not heard that about Stockhausen and Henry Cow, but considering he has about 50 ideas a minute it wouldn't surprise me.

(I wrote a piece about these shenanigans here.)


Well-known member
Well Stocky pulled out it seems, Jodo wasn't mental enough for him or something, at which point the Floyd were asked. They then proceeded to try and muscle in on the whole thing, I mean this is quite plausible. I think the original idea was to have different music representing the three planets.


Well-known member
Nabokovs The Original of Laura was lost for a while but was apparently just released, i'm gonna have to get that.

Also Salinger is rumoured to have written several works he doesnt want to publish. And there is this odd book.

"The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" is an unpublished work by J. D. Salinger. It is about the death of Kenneth Caulfield, who would later become Allie in The Catcher in the Rye.

This story is available only in the Princeton library. Those who wish to read it must check in with two forms of ID with the librarian, and are then supervised while they read the story behind the closed doors of a special reading room. It will not be published until 50 years after the death of Salinger"


Who loves ya, baby?
Scorsese was apparently planning to make a Gershwin biopic. Also Coppola's Megalopolis, Tarkovsky's The Idiot, Welles' Heart of Darkness.


Just seen this thread after years.... looks as though that Jodorowsky thing failed to be good by never getting made. I mean he's done some other stuff since but doesn't meet the above description as far as I know.
As for Holy Mountain, I think it's more similar to the book than you credit, of course he died before he finished it so that gave Jodorowsky licence to make his own ending, and he fucked with it in other ways (er, the characters and the details etc) but many other films inspired by books are much looser in terms of adaptation. If you're reading this Lucia... probably not.
Also, didn't know about the lost Schulz thing, sounds interesting.


Darned cockwombles.
I was gutted that Steve McQueen never made the Fela biopic. I think his films are usually style over substance, but an accent on ostentatious atmosphere might really have worked in that case