Monday, December 19, 2005

Finding Obscure Literary Works

Associated Press reports on a Nashville-area man who has become a "literary prospector," digging for lost or forgotten works by literary circles.

Steve Hines spends hours camped out at the Nashville Public Library, poring through century-old reference books and magazines, looking for obscure works by famous authors.

He's motivated by more than just a love of literature.

Hines is hoping to find and publish stories by writers such as Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder - not the famous novels like "Little Women" or "Little House on the Prairie," but lesser-known work that still appeals to die-hard fans.

Copyright for most books and stories published in the United States before 1978 expires after 75 years, putting it in the public domain. That means anyone can republish the stories for profit.

Hines found a forgotten Alcott story titled "Patty's Place" while looking through a 1920 copy of St. Nicholas magazine for children in the Nashville library. He published that story as "The Quiet Little Woman," along with another story he found, "Kate's Choice," and sold about 350,000 copies.

"There are people out there who want to read Louisa May Alcott," said Hines. "That made me wonder if there was more material out there."



See the whole story here.
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