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    14 Works Of Literature That Authors Really Regretted Publishing

    Winnie-the-Pooh doesn't have the whimsical backstory I thought it would.

    1. An author's distaste for their own work typically comes in one of two varieties: either they don't like the writing itself or they take issue with the public's reaction to it. Annie Proulx's relationship with her short story Brokeback Mountain falls firmly into the latter category.

    Annie Proulx with a quote reading "so many people have completely misunderstood the story."

    2. Octavia E. Butler disliked her third novel, Survivor, because of its use of sci-fi clichés she described as "really offensive garbage," and she refused to let it be reprinted.

    Octavia E Butler and the cover of Survivor

    3. Stephen King's novel Rage, which centers on a troubled student who brings a gun to school, was linked to four actual or attempted school shootings in the '80s and '90s. Following these incidents, King requested that the book no longer be published.

    Stephen King with quote: I pulled it because in my judgment it might be hurting people, and that made it the responsible thing to do.

    4. Despite the fact that she wrote 33 novels and 56 stories about him, Agatha Christie wasn't overly fond of her iconic detective, Hercule Poirot. The author described the character as a "detestable, bombastic, tiresome, egocentric little creep," and resented that his popularity meant that her publishers were reluctant to let her experiment with new, Poirot-free ideas.

    Agatha Christie alongside a book of hers entitled Poirot Investigates

    5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have created one of the most enduring pop culture figures of all time in Sherlock Holmes, but the writer resented the detective for "tend[ing] to obscure my higher work" and preventing him from taking a "more commanding" presence in literature.

    Arthur Conan Doyle and the cover of an edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

    6. A.A. Milne regretted writing the four books that made up the Winnie-the-Pooh series after it became clear that their success would eclipse the rest of his work. To make matters worse, the burden of Pooh's notoriety was shared by Milne's only son, Christopher Robin Milne.

    AA Milne with Christopher Robin and a quote reading: If I write anything less realistic, less straightforward than the cat sat on the mat, I am indulging in a whimsy

    7. Peter Benchley's novel about a murderous shark sold millions of copies and made him quite a bit of money, but his success was soured by a zoological misunderstanding with real ecological consequences.

    Peter Benchley and the cover of Jaws, with the quote: No one appreciates how vulnerable sharks are to destruction

    8. In 1969, a teenaged William Powell began writing The Anarchist Cookbook while "being actively pursued by the US military, who seemed single-mindedly determined to send me to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam." In 2013, he wrote an essay for the Guardian about why he thought it should be pulled from print (Powell never owned the copyright, and so couldn't make that decision on his own).

    William Powell with the anarchist cookbook and quote: We talk about the cliché of the skeleton in the closet, but my skeleton's not in the closet. My skeleton is in print. And I live with that.

    9. In a poem that went unpublished until years after Anthony Burgess's death in 1993, he implored readers to skip A Clockwork Orange and even went so far as to suggest other books they might enjoy more.

    Anthony Burgess with A Clockwork Orange

    10. Louisa May Alcott didn't want to write a book about girls, but editor Thomas Niles insisted she try it. She grew bored by her first attempt and soon gave up, but when Niles said he'd only publish her father's book (of "philosophical musings") if she gave it another shot, Alcott finished writing Little Women in two months. It became a huge success, but Alcott never cared for it.

    11. In his essay collection Palm Sunday, Kurt Vonnegut gave a letter grade to each of the books he had written so far, and two received the lowest possible grade on his scale.

    Slapstick and Happy Birthday, Wanda June with a picture of Vonnegut

    12. Gelett Burgess, an American poet and humorist, became haunted by the popularity of a four-line nonsense poem he composed about purple cows.

    Gelett Burgess next to an image of a purple cow in a field

    13. According to the 2017 biography Salinger, J.D. Salinger spent "ten years writing The Catcher in the Rye and the rest of his life regretting it."

    J.D. Salinger and the cover of the catcher in the rye

    14. Franz Kafka burned an estimated 90% of his work while he was alive, and after his death, his friend Max Brod found a letter requesting he burn the rest. Brod refused, and two months later he arranged the publication of three novels that Kafka hoped would end up in the fireplace: The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika.

    Kafka with his dog and next to a modern cover of the Trial