In your opinion, can a single author get the two most prestigious awards for practically one work, and then not write a single work comparable in success to the first?
But can this work be so successful that in the homeland of the author it was included in the list of mandatory literature for study in educational institutions?Daniel Keyes is
an unusual author. After receiving a bachelor of psychology degree, he worked as a junior editor of a literary magazine, a fashion photographer, a teacher of English at school, and a teacher of Sunday writing courses. Simultaneously with all his teaching activities, he in absentia received a master's degree in the specialty "Anglo-American Literature." Later in this field, he will achieve the title of professor of English and literary creativity, receive an honorary medal from Brooklyn College, and later become an honorary professor at Wayne University.
But all these achievements will be ahead of him. Now it is more interesting, if you can call it that, his main work, which Keese will write in 1959. It will be quite a long but interesting story "Flowers for Algernon." The story tells about the subtle world of a person who does not realize how much he is different from others; this is a tragedy of a person who does not even understand how unhappy he is by the standards of others. For the main character of the story, his world is the best, well, except maybe a little bit wrong. The idiot Charlie Gordon works, is friends with his colleagues and dreams of becoming a little smarter. His desire is so great that he goes to Sunday school, learns to read and write, being the most diligent student. However, due to the limitations of their mental abilities, to achieve something "fool" was not destined.
But Destiny gives a chance to Charlie. The teacher recommends it for a scientific experiment - an artificial increase in intelligence through surgical intervention ...
To describe the work further means to reveal the whole author's intention, therefore I will give potential readers to enjoy a truly magnificent work on their own.
The story was so successful that in 1960 he received the Hugo
Award. In 1966, Keith, from the story, wrote a novel calling it the same way - “ Flowers for Algernon
”. The author’s style has changed somewhat; his inner world is revealed here more deeply, his emotions, experiences and dreams are more vividly described. But the essence itself has not changed. Charlie from the novel is the same Charlie Gordon from the earlier work. The same events, the same tragedy, and Algernon has not changed.
And once again success. The novel receives another prestigious English-language award - Nebula
In 1968, the novel is filmed. And the result is quite successful, the leading man ( Cliff Robertson
) gets an Oscar
Partly, the idea presented in “Flowers” formed the basis of another famous film work - the Lawnmower
. But from Charlie in the plot of the film there was only the fact of an artificial increase in intelligence, and Kiz was not mentioned in the credits at all.
Later, Keese will write a few more works with a deep psychological tinge:
* in “Touching” describes the tragedy of a person with radiation sickness,
* and in Billy Milligan's Multiple Minds, a person suffering from multiple split personality commits a number of crimes, but receives an acquittal due to a similar disease, and the work is documentary and based on the true story of Billy Milligan
* "Milligan Wars", a continuation of the "multiple minds" published only in Japan
* and many others ...
but none of the subsequent works, it should be noted no less interesting, did not repeat the fate of the Charlie Gordon narratives. True "Multiple minds" received several specialized awards in the USA and one in Germany, as the "Best translated book", but remained deep in the shadow of the "Flowers".
Kiz has her own website
where you can find out some details about her works.
PS Thanks to Vamp
users for correcting spelling errors.