It is true that many authors will write many drafts of the magnum opus before the volume finally passes into the hands of the general public. Thackeray may have written with the printer's boy hammering at the door for this month's copy (how different, how very different from the habits of the average scribe for The Primgraph!) but Dickens, it is well known, planned his novels in advance - although sometimes public taste and interest caused alterations in the plot: Walter Gay survived the shipwreck in Little Dorrit, and reading it now, it is hard for us to imagine a tale in which he was lost.
But what if that chapter where Walter's death was confirmed beyond any doubt did exist? What if other chapters existed, in which the characters and storylines of much-loved classics were shown to be radically different from the versions that eventually found publication?
What if, for example, great writers toyed with the idea of indulging popular tastes for the Gothic and the supernatural? What if it was only the firm blue pens of editors that sent them marching firmly down the respectable paths that led to the great works of literature we love and esteem today?
And what if The Primgraph were to find these Lost Chapters and present them to you, our dear readers?
We begin today the first on our new series of Lost Chapters wherein one of the volumes of Miss Louisa M Alcott's Little Women family saga has been ... restored by Mr Mako Kungfu.
Although Louisa M Alcott is today largely known for her family novels, such as Little Women, Good Wives and Little Men, her earlier works were of an altogether different order. Under the nom de plume of A M Barnard, she wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensational stories such as Behind a Mask and Pauline's Passion and Punishment. Written in a style which was wildly popular at the time, these works achieved immediate commercial success. But, like her heroine Jo March, she turned away from sensationalist fiction and instead became even more famous for the family chronicles written under her own name.
But what if, in writing her most famous work, her original intention had been to produce another of her highly successful sensationalist novels? What if her plans for the March sisters had been ... somewhat different?
Find out in the first of our Lost Chapters, coming soon in The Primgraph.