This is a book to be savored. Anyone who loves literature, and especially anyone who collects books, will be fascinated by this look at so many works that are lost to the world. Some were lost over the centuries, such has Homer's epic comedy The Margites. Some were destroyed by their authors, such as parts II and III of Gogol's Dead Souls. Some were left unfinished due to the author's death, like Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Some could never be finished, such as Leibniz's Universal Encyclopedia. Some were destroyed by accident, like the first draft of Carlyle's History of the French Revolution which was mistaken for scrap paper and burned in a fireplace. Some were physically lost like all of Hemingway's early writing which vanished in a misplaced suitcase during a trip to Switzerland.
Although it is sad to think of so much lost literature, I choose to be optimistic about it. Like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, some of these treasures may be waiting to be rediscovered. In some air tight jar in the Egyptian desert the lost plays of Sophocles may be waiting for us. In the ruins of a Medieval monastery there may be copies of the lost works of Aristotle. In some long forgotten London basement, buried under piles of paper, there may be a copy of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Won. Somewhere in the archives of the KGB the lost manuscript of Bruno Schulz's The Messiah is stored away and someday someone is going to find it.