I offer a puzzle, to which I don’t know the answer:
What is the best-known literary work in English not currently in print?
I have a nominee: Sir Walter Raleigh’s History of the World. Temple University Press seems to have put out a one-volume addition (doubtless abridged) in 1972, but that seems to be it. Five-volume sets sell for between $1500 and $2000 at the antiquarian booksellers.
Amazingly, the University of California library system seems not to have a copy, outside its rare-book collections. Is the Raleigh’s prose just unreadable? That wasn’t his reputation. Inquiring minds want to know.
Anyway, if you can come up with a more famous document not in print, please let me know. The full set of James Branch Cabell’s Biography of the Life of Manuel has long been out of print, of course, but the well-known individual books from that set are all available.
Update: Hilzoy nominates Hakluyt’s Voyages.
Second update: Also in the running: Macaulay’s History of England and the Adams brothers’ Chapters of Erie. Seems to me Macaulay is the winner, so far.