What lost work of literature would you most like to get your hands on?

Being on an Alexander the Great kick recently, I think I might just give my right kidney to get my hands on a copy of Ptolemy’s lost memoirs. Ptolemy was, of course, one of the Big A’s generals (and probably his half-brother) and his memoirs, since lost to history, served as sources for many later historians. There are, sadly, no surviving contemporary histories from Alexander the Great’s time period. Just reading what Ptolemy had to say about Alexander and his conquests, along with his own adventures as king of Egypt, would be worth the kidney.

Runner-up: Shakespeare’s missing play, “Love’s Labour’s Found”, a sequel to his “Love’s Labour’s Lost”.

So what lost work of literature would you most like to get your hands on?

Almost anything in the Library at Alexandria. But especially the actual history written by the emperor Claudius, fictionalized as “I, Claudius”.

I would really like to find my copy of the * Necromonicon * . . . oh wait, it was under the couch. Nevermind.

The Bible, before people started to interpret it.

[nitpick]It was actually called “Love’s Labour’s Won.”[/nitpick] And that was my very first thought, before opening the thread.

The full cycle of Coventry mystery plays would be cool, too, seeing as how they were probably the first plays young Shakespeare saw.

That copy of Coraline I lent to a very nice girl after a very nice couple of days, before she sort of disappeared on me.

There was an encyclopedia back in ancient times, for which Pliny the Younger wrote an article on the death of his father at the hands (so to speak) of a volcanic eruption.

The sole reason the modern world is aware of said death is because the letter describing it survives.

The encyclopedia does not, unfortunately. I think I’ll take that.

The rest of Dead Souls, burned by Gogol.

Aristotle’s Dialogs.

Most of the lost greek tragedies, and comedies by people other than Aristophanes.

The “Dark Book” of heraclitus, or anything by pre-socratic philosophers.

In Short, as BrotherCadafel posted, anything from the library of Alexandria

The lost works of Sophocles. IIRC, all of his plays (somewhere around 107) were at the library at Alexandria, and of those less than 10 survive. Of those, 3 are the Oedipus Rex trilogy. Carl Sagan talks about this in Cosmos. He likens it to Shakespeare, if we had heard that the author of plays like “As You Like It” and “Love’s Labor Lost” had written other plays, well received in their time but without any surviving copies, such as “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, and “Macbeth.”

Hemingway’s rumored first novel

The missing plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes & Euripedes

The Mayan codices

They’re not really “lost,” per se, but all of Salinger’s stories which appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere but were never published in book form. Maybe when he croaks…

The original copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’.

Any version of a Shakespeare play in his own hand. Just to stop the endless nit-picking about what is and is not the ‘authentic’ text. Unless you have been dunked in the bottomless quagmire of academic Bard crit., you have no idea how much endless bickering and conjecture goes on over every word in every line. At first it’s interesting and consturctive, but then you realise it’s an infinate hall of mirrors.

The envelope on which Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address.

The pre-enciphered text of the Beale cipher!

Any document signed by Hitler referring to the Final Solution, just to shut the revisionists up.

What Martin Luther nailed on to the church door. Would be worth a few dollars by now.

I second Claudius’s works. Also the memoirs of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Fabius’s history of Rome, and the lost books of Livy. In fact, just about every history of Rome written by a Roman that doesn’t still exist.

Any complete work by Menander, other than the one we have now.

Any work by a Greek tragidian other than the 3 whose work we have in part.

An uncorrupted version of “Pericles”

“Cardenio”, the lost play by Shakespeare and Fletcher

A copy of any Shakespearian play in his handwriting, to check for sure if the part of “Sir Thomas More” credited to him is by him.

The lost Greek and Roman histories.

Any Mayan codices other than the 3 and a part that exist now.

An uncorrupted version of either “Dr. Faustus” or “Massacre at Paris”, by Christopher Marlowe.

The quatro of “Love’s Labours Won” sold by a bookseller in 1604.

The Return of the Jedi script that had Luke turning evil and a welcome lack of Ewoks.

Not fair making me pick one! NOT FAIR! (says the ancient history student)

Sappho’s poetry.

An original copy of “Macbeth,” so people would know once and for all if the “Hectate’s Monologue” scene was added later or not.

Hey thats the book I had decided before I even opened the thread :frowning:
I would take Mein Kempf too