Unpublished Charlie Chaplin Novel Discovered and Restored in Italy

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Incredibly, the one and only book ever written by comedian Charlie Chaplin has been discovered and restored. The book called “Floodlights” tells the story of a struggling comedian and a despondent dancer who lean on each other for help.

In the book, the main character, Calvero, vows to stage a comeback and “rock them with laughter like I used to.” The words were written as Chaplin’s career, which hit its apex in the 1920s and 1930s, was on the decline. Soon after the release of Limelight, he left the U.S. amid the anti-communist movement.

The novel was completed in 1948 and later adapted into the 1952 autobiographical film Limelight. However, the book was nearly lost. Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna reports that it has been pieced together from handwritten notes and typed scripts and vignettes by Chaplin biographer

“Floodlights” will be published by the Italian film restoration institute, Cineteca di Bologna.

A spokesman for the Cineteca called Chaplin’s writing “vivid” and “idiosyncratic,” saying it moves “from the baldly colloquial to moments of rich imagery and Dickensian description.”

The book is illustrated with until-now unpublished documents and photographs from the Chaplin archives.