A lot of great writers don’t get discovered until after their death, and in the case of Charlie Chaplin, some writers don’t even get published until almost 40 years after their death. According to THR, the only book Chaplin ever wrote was recently discovered and restored by the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy. Titled Floodlights, the 34,000-word work follows a struggling comedian named Calvero who “vows to stage a comeback and ‘rock them with laughter like I used to.’” Chaplin finished the book in 1948 after the slow decline of his own career following a string of films in the 20s and 30s.
According to a spokesman for the Cineteca di Bologna, Chaplin’s writing is “vivid,” “idiosyncratic,” and moves “from the baldly colloquial to moments of rich imagery and Dickensian description.” It will be published sometime in 2014 and will include photos and documents from the Chaplin archives that have until now gone unpublished. To get a feel for Floodlight, check out a clip below from Chaplin’s 1952 film adaptation of the book Limelight with Buster Keaton: