Lives of the Novelists

Lives of the Novelists

A History of Fiction in 294 Lives

Book - 2012
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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.

Publisher: New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, 2012.
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780300179477
Branch Call Number: 823.009 SUT
Characteristics: xiii, 818 pages ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: History of fiction in 294 lives


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Jul 09, 2014

Sutherland provides short (3 - 4 page) biographic sketches and critical assessments of 294 authors from the 17th century onwards across all literary genres. He is able, in these short pieces, to provide telling and insightful details about the authors and their works. My list would be different, but his selection is part of the pleasure of this book. It would be a good addition to anyone's reference shelf.

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