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Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives
Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives (Hardcover)
No previous author has attempted a book such as this: a complete history of novels written in the English language, from the genre's seventeenth-century origins to the present day. In the spirit of Dr. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, acclaimed critic and scholar John Sutherland selects 294 writers whose works illustrate the best of every kind of fiction—from gothic, penny dreadful, and pornography to fantasy, romance, and high literature. Each author was chosen, Professor Sutherland explains, because his or her books are well worth reading and are likely to remain so for at least another century. Sutherland presents these authors in chronological order, in each case deftly combining a lively and informative biographical sketch with an opinionated assessment of the writer's work. Taken together, these novelists provide both a history of the novel and a guide to its rich variety. Always entertaining, and sometimes shocking, Sutherland considers writers as diverse as Daniel Defoe, Henry James, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Michael Crichton, Jeffrey Archer, and Jacqueline Susann.
Written for all lovers of fiction, Lives of the Novelists succeeds both as introduction and re-introduction, as Sutherland presents favorite and familiar novelists in new ways and transforms the less favored and less familiar through his relentlessly fascinating readings.
About the Author
John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and a former long-time faculty member at the California Institute of Technology. He is author of over 20 books, editor of 30 more, and a regular columnist and critic on radio and television. He lives in London.
Praise for Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives…
"A worthy successor to Dr. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets: John Sutherland is witty, incisive, idiosyncratic, and has the keenest of eyes for the telling detail. While recounting the stories of so many fascinating authors, Lives of the Novelists also offers a memorable portrait of a critical life devoted to reading and writing."—James Shapiro, Professor of English, Columbia University
"John Sutherland is among the handful of critics whose every book I must have. He’s sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued, with a generous heart and a wise head. This self-assured and knowledgeable survey of novels in English is invaluable as both a reference work and, wonderfully, a book to savor."—Jay Parini