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There are plenty of novelists who are now known primarily for one work. Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, John Bunyan, Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker*.

 

* Which reminds me: Mary Shelley.

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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?

 

I guess so.

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Oh, fucking Tolkien.

 

Isn't he either a two- or a four-novel author? (You're going to be hearing so much about The Hobbit in the upcoming years that it's going to make you puke.)

 

Yes, silly me: The Hobbit is the better book in so many ways.

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Henry Roth

 

No, after a long pause, he came back with a multi-volume late work.

 

Sure. But, at least as compared to Call It Sleep, how many people read it?

 

(I guess I'm confused about the criteria here.)

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I didn't mean to muddy the waters by suggesting we count writers who, although they wrote a number of novels, are remembered today only for one.

 

I was just covering off the fact that even the genuine one hit wonders may have made a stab at a follow-up or even had something else published. The difference is subtle, but I think valid. Mary Shelley wrote a bunch of novels, as did Melville (and his are still read).

 

Defoe - it depends how you count the plague journal, which is certainly still read. It's presented as non-fiction, but I think it's invention.

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