Homer's epic poems, the great works of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath are standard reading for anyone studying English and/or literature — or so you'd think.
While these authors are in no danger of losing their places on the list of the world's greatest writers, it turns out that some of their could-have-been masterpieces have been lost. Smithsonian Magazine put together a list of the Top 10 lost books, creations that scholars and bibliophiles everywhere would love to spend hours (or years) poring over but that have disappeared.
Among them are a complete play, Cardenio, by Shakespeare; Homer's first poem, Margites; the first draft of Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Austen's last, incomplete novel, Sanditon; Melville's novel The Isle of the Cross; and Hemingway's novel about his experiences during World War I.
The existence of these works, as well as the others on the list, is confirmed by first-person accounts, references in other books or by the authors themselves. Still, you might want to take a really close look at that old pile of papers you found in that trunk in the attic before you throw them out.