March 17, 2009



The problem with how authors were chosen as "one hit wonders" is that they are only counting novels as possible "hits". This is absurd. Particularly when you take Boris Pasternak into account, whose poetry is a far superior literary achievement (at least in Russian) than the melodramatic potboiler Dr. Zhivago. Great writers often work in more than one literary form, and their "hits" shouldn't be arbitrarily circumscribed to one in the interests of constructing a listicle.

Ditto for Oscar Wilde. If you're not going to count The Importance of Being Earnest in his corner, then there's something crazy about your criteria in the first place.

And some would say that J.D. Salinger is in fact a no-hit wonder.

Dagger DiGorro

Does Virgil qualify as a one-hit wonder? How about Anthony Powell or Proust? Henry Adams? Milton?

Do the Eclogues and Georgics, The Fisher King, Contre Sainte-Beuve, Democracy, and Samson Agonistes count as hits? (Debate anmongst yourselves.)

Or is this just a stupid conversation?

(But in any case, Jonathan Franzen . . . that schmuck is definitely a one-hit wonder.)

Dagger DiGorro

And JR doesn't qualify as a Spectacular Second? The Sun Also Rises? Ummm . . . Madame Bovary?


What about Homer? The Odyssey inspired Joyce's Ulysses which made the list. Proust and Milton I would definitely have as one-hit wonders, but when the one hit is amongst the greatest in the canon, one-hit wonder isn't really applicable. Besides, In Search of Lost Time is more a cycle of several works. More: Cervantes, Herodotus.


I don't think Homer ever copyrighted his work, so the Iliad may not count.

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