Culture

The Best Books Released Posthumously  

Ranker Books
1.7k votes 229 voters 6.6k views 191 items

List Rules These books were all released after the authors' deaths. Vote up all of your favorites!

This list contains information about the best books that were released posthumously. Several famous fiction writers, scientists, and children's book authors have had their works released posthumously. Some of these famous books were released just days after an author's death, while others were released decades later.

What is the most famous book to be released posthumously? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank tops our list. This book was published in 1947 and documents Frank and her family's experience hiding from the Nazis for two years during World War II. Frank died from typhus in a concentration camp in 1945, just a month before the camp was liberated. Ernest Hemingway recalled his experiences in Paris in the 1920's in his book A Moveable Feast, which was published in 1964. Hemingway committed suicide in 1961.

One of the most popular book series of recent years was published posthumously. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was published in 2005, just months after its author, Stieg Larsson, died of a heart attack on November 9, 2004. The book has since been developed in to a film by David Fincher, starring Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander.

Which posthumous books are your favorites? Vote them up, and if you don't see one on here that deserves a spot, be sure to add it.
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of over 20 stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century, during the time of the Hundred Years' War. The tales are ...more
2
The Silmarillion is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who ...more
3
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the ...more
4
Annabel Lee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Edgar Allan Poe
"Annabel Lee" is the last complete poem composed by American author Edgar Allan Poe. Like many of Poe's poems, it explores the theme of the death of a beautiful woman. The narrator, ...more
5
A Confederacy of Dunces is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
bonifaceVIII added John Kennedy Toole
A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which appeared in 1980, eleven years after Toole's suicide. Published through the efforts of writer Walker ...more
6
Northanger Abbey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be completed for publication, though she had previously made a start on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. According to ...more
7
Poems: Third Series is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Emily Dickinson
8
The Will to Power is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Friedrich Nietzsche
The Will to Power is a book of notes drawn from the literary remains of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche by his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Heinrich Köselitz. The Will to ...more
9
The Trial is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Franz Kafka
The Trial is a novel written by Franz Kafka in 1914 and 1915 but not published until 1925. One of Kafka's best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, ...more
10
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book of the Millennium trilogy, which, when published posthumously in ...more
11
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Charles Dickens
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the final novel by Charles Dickens. The novel was unfinished at the time of Dickens's death and his ending for it is unknown. Though the novel is named after the ...more
12
A Moveable Feast is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast is a memoir by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years as an expatriate writer in Paris in the 1920s. The book describes Hemingway's apprenticeship as a young writer ...more
13
Delta of Venus is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
bonifaceVIII added Anaïs Nin
Delta of Venus is a book of fifteen short stories by Anaïs Nin published posthumously in 1977 — though largely written in the 1940s as erotica for a private collector. In 1994 a film ...more
14
Billions and Billions: Thought... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Carl Sagan
Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium, published by Random House in 1997, is the last book written by renowned American astronomer and science ...more
15
The Man with the Golden Gun is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Ian Fleming
The Man with the Golden Gun is the twelfth novel of Ian Fleming's James Bond series. It was first published by Jonathan Cape in the UK on 1 April 1965, eight months after the author's death. The ...more
16
The Master and Margarita is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Mollevangsvagen added Mikhail Bulgakov
The Master and Margarita is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, written between 1928 and 1940, but unpublished in book form until 1967. The story concerns a visit by the Devil to the fervently ...more
17
Daisy-Head Mayzie is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dr. Seuss
Daisy-Head Mayzie is the last children's book officially written by Dr. Seuss, although he did not illustrate it, nor was it published until 1995, after his death.
18
The Love of the Last Tycoon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Love of The Last Tycoon is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, compiled and published posthumously, in 1941.
19
The Case of Charles Dexter War... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Mollevangsvagen added H. P. Lovecraft
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a short novel by H. P. Lovecraft, written in early 1927, but not published during the author's lifetime. Set in Lovecraft's hometown of Providence, Rhode ...more
20
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrú... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Mollevangsvagen added J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is a book containing two narrative poems and related texts composed by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and HarperCollins on ...more
21
Little Birds is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dimos Dicoudis added Anaïs Nin
Little Birds is Anaïs Nin's second published work of erotica, which appeared in 1979 two years after her death, but was apparently written in the early 1940s when she was part of a group ...more
22
The History of The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dimos Dicoudis added J. R. R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff
The History of The Hobbit is a two-volume study of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It was published by HarperCollins in June and July 2007 in the United Kingdom, with both volumes released in the ...more
23
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkie... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dimos Dicoudis added J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien is a selection of J. R. R. Tolkien's letters published in 1981, edited by Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carpenter assisted by Christopher Tolkien. The selection ...more
24
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dimos Dicoudis added Roald Dahl
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke is a children's story written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It was first published in London in 1991, after Dahl's death, by Century. The protagonist ...more
25
Unfinished Tales is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Books Released Posthumously
Dimos Dicoudis added J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien
Unfinished Tales is a collection of stories and essays by J. R. R. Tolkien that were never completed during his lifetime, but were edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in 1980. ...more