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Harper Lee, Ralph Ellison, John Kennedy Toole - very good. I guess Oscar Wilde was not primarily a novelist, so I'd put him with Philip Larkin - suprised to have a novel from them at all.

 

Sylvia Plath: I guess I'd exclude people who died young for whatever reason. She was 30 when she died, as was Emily Bronte.

 

Herman Melville's an odd case, and I'd say no: his early novels, like Typee and Omoo, did quite well. Moby Dick was a disaster for him. His other work is in print and read, although I agree that's only the case because of Moby Dick.

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Yep, another good one.

 

Paul Bowles, although you could make the case he was primarily a short story writer, as Wilde was a playwright and Larkin a poet.

 

George Orwell, oddly, is a two-novel writer. Only odd because the two novels were so highly rated and massively successful. You think he might have squeezed out a third.

 

Oh, fucking Tolkien.

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I just read larkin's first novel and enjoyed it. just a story, and it lacks the misery that makes his poetry so wonderful, but a good read nonetheless. will get to the other novel soon if I can find my copy.

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Sylvia Plath: I guess I'd exclude people who died young for whatever reason. She was 30 when she died, as was Emily Bronte.

 

That excludes Toole as well, doesn't it?

Well I think Toole is even more of an outlier - CoD was posthumously published. And like not a year, but 10 years after.

 

ETA: Also many of these authors listed as one-hit wonders really only gave it one shot, maybe 2-3. I'd be interested in people who wrote a classic/great book and then lots of mediocrity. Lee and Ellison are in the first category

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Yep, another good one.

 

Paul Bowles, although you could make the case he was primarily a short story writer, as Wilde was a playwright and Larkin a poet.

 

George Orwell, oddly, is a two-novel writer. Only odd because the two novels were so highly rated and massively successful. You think he might have squeezed out a third.

 

Oh, fucking Tolkien.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying is still read. I know, I've read it.

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