The following blog post is dedicated to two authors, who became famous after their deaths.
(December 10th 1830 – May 15th 1886)
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts to a wealthy family, Emily Dickinson went on to become a prolific poet with over 1700 poems to her name. During her lifetime Dickinson had fewer than a dozen poems published, and it was only after her death that she became famous.
The very private nature of the poet is undoubtedly one reason for Dickinson’s lack of acclaim during her lifetime. By the late 1860s’ her reclusive habits included rarely leaving the house and even speaking to visitors from the other side of the door.
It was only after her demise when younger sister Lavinia discovered her poetry that family and associates realised just how prolific a poet she had been. The first collection of Dickinson’s poetry was published in 1890, though it was heavily edited. Between 1914 and 1918 nearly a dozen new editions were published and then in 1955 a completed collection of her poetry, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, was released. Interest in the poet’s work was to only increase with the passage of time. In 1981 The Manuscript of Emily Dickinson was published and then in 2001 her biography.
Today Emily Dickinson is remembered as an iconic poet and one of the most acclaimed American female writers of all time. Her poetry is studied in schools throughout the country and there was even a stamp to commemorate her in 1971.
Death and immortality are reoccurring themes in Dickinson’s poetry and it can be argued that she achieved the latter with her posthumous fame and place in the hearts of her nation’s readers.
Karl Stig-Erland ‘Stieg’ Larsson
(August 15th 1954 – November 9th 2004)
Notable works: Millennium Series
Larsson was known during his lifetime as a renowned journalist and an independent researcher. However at the time of his death, aged fifty in Stockholm of a heart-attack, after climbing the seven flights of stairs to his office, as the lift was not working, Larsson’s Millennium Series were unpublished manuscripts sitting in his house.
The first, published in Sweden in 2005, received The Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel that same year. The book was published in The United Kingdom in 2008 under its English language title, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The second part of the series, published in Sweden in 2006 is known in the English speaking world as The Girl Who Played with Fire. The following year the final instalment was released, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.
The trilogy saw the author achieve incredible success and posthumous fame. In 2008 Larsson was the second highest selling author in the world and in 2010, USA Today’s author of the year. The Millennium Series has gone on to be adapted for film and television. Hollywood sequels to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig, are in production, and will likely see interest in the series increase yet further. To date about sixty million copies of the Millennium Series have been sold worldwide.
Click here to read Part II.