Flowers for Daniel Keyes

    In your opinion, can one author receive two of the most prestigious prizes for almost 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 author’s homeland he was included in the list of compulsory literature for study in educational institutions?

    Daniel Keyesthe author is unusual. Having received a bachelor's degree in psychology, he worked as a junior editor of a literary magazine, and a photographer in a fashion magazine, and as an English teacher at school, and as a teacher of Sunday writing courses. Along with all his teaching activities, he received in absentia 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 even later become an honorary professor at Wayne University.
    But all these achievements will be ahead of him. Now it is more interesting, if I may call it that, his main work, which Keyes will write in 1959. It will be a long enough, but interesting story, "Flowers for Algernon." The story tells of the subtle world of a person who does not realize how different he is from others, this is the tragedy of a person who does not even understand how unfortunate he is by the standards of others. For the protagonist of the story, his world is the best, except perhaps a little wrong. Foolish Charlie Gordon works, makes 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 at the same time the most diligent student. However, due to the limitations of their mental abilities, to achieve something "fool" is not destined.
    But Fate gives Charlie a chance. 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, so I will leave potential readers to enjoy a truly magnificent work on their own.
    The story was so successful that in 1960 he received the Hugo Prize . In 1966, Keyes wrote a novel from the story calling it exactly the same - " Flowers for Algernon". The author’s style has changed a bit, Charlie’s inner world is revealed more deeply, his emotions, feelings and dreams are more vividly described. But the essence has not changed. Charlie from the novel is the same Charlie Gordon from an earlier work. The same events, The same tragedy, and Algernon has not changed.
    and once again the success of Roman receives other prestigious English-language award -. Nebula . in 1967
    . in 1968, the novel filmed and the result is quite successful, lead actor ( Cliff Robertson ) gets the Oscar .
    in part, idea outlined in "Colors" formed the basis of another famous movie - Lawn Mower. But from Charlie in the plot of the film, there was only the fact of an artificial increase in intelligence, and Keyes was not mentioned at all in the credits.
    Keyes later writes several more works with a deep psychological connotation:
    * In “Touch” describes the tragedy of a person with radiation sickness,
    * and in “Billy Milligan’s Multiple Minds” a person suffering from multiple dualities commits a number of crimes, but receives a verdict of guilty because of this disease, while the work is documentary and based on the real story of Billy Milligan .
    * "Milligan Wars", which are a continuation of "multiple minds" published only in Japan
    * and many others ...
    but none of the following works, it should be noted no less interesting, did not repeat the fate of the stories of Charlie Gordon. True, “Multiple Minds” received several specialized awards in the USA and one in Germany, as “The Best Translation Book”, but remained deep in the shadow of “Flowers”.

    Keyes has his own website where you can find out some details about his works.

    PS Thanks to users Vamp , teplorod and Kodeks for correcting spelling errors.

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