Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives

By John Sutherland

No past writer has tried a ebook reminiscent of this: a whole heritage of novels written within the English language, from the genre's seventeenth-century origins to the current day. within the spirit of Dr. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, acclaimed critic and pupil John Sutherland selects 294 writers whose works illustrate the simplest of each type of fiction—from gothic, penny dreadful, and pornography to myth, romance, and excessive literature. every one writer was once selected, Professor Sutherland explains, simply because his or her books are really worth interpreting and tend to stay so for a minimum of one other century. Sutherland offers those authors in chronological order, in each one case deftly combining a full of life and informative biographical caricature with an opinionated evaluate of the writer's paintings. Taken jointly, those novelists supply either a heritage of the radical and a consultant to its wealthy style. regularly unique, and infrequently surprising, Sutherland considers writers as varied as Daniel Defoe, Henry James, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Michael Crichton, Jeffrey Archer, and Jacqueline Susann.

Written for all fans of fiction, Lives of the Novelists succeeds either as advent and re-introduction, as Sutherland provides favourite and accepted novelists in new methods and transforms the fewer preferred and not more accepted via his relentlessly interesting readings.

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Farrell 269. Postscript: George MacDonald Fraser 270. David resort 271. Alistair MacLeod 272. John Kennedy Toole 273. Margaret Atwood 274. Postscript: Susanna Moodie 275. Jeffrey Archer 276. J. M. Coetzee 277. Postscript: Bret Easton Ellis 278. Michael Crichton 279. Peter Carey 280. W. G. Sebald 281. Vernor Vinge 282. Julian Barnes 283. Sue Townsend 284. Paul Auster 285. Postscript: Lydia Davis and Siri Hustvedt 286. Postscript: Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt 287. Salman Rushdie 288. Stephen King 289. Robert Jordan 290. Ian McEwan 291. Martin Amis and Richard Hughes 292. Patricia Cornwell 293. Alice Sebold 294. Rana Dasgupta Epilogue Index There’s a major renowned urge for food for secrets and techniques. As for the biographical ‘explanation’ quite often it makes concerns worse via including elements that aren’t there and may make no aesthetic distinction in the event that they have been. Nathan Zuckerman, go out Ghost, Philip Roth The character of a author does turn into very important once we have learn his publication and start to review it. E. M. Forster, Anonymity: An Inquiry A shilling existence provide you with all of the proof. W. H. Auden (who advised his associates to burn all his letters, after his dying) My sole want is to frustrate as completely as attainable the postmortem exploiter. Henry James (before touching the sunshine to a bonfire of his own papers) Authors are only fictional humans approximately whom now we have a number of biographical parts, by no means adequate to lead them to really genuine humans. Jacques Bonnet It doesn't stick with that simply because a specific murals succeeds in captivating us, its writer additionally merits our admiration. Plutarch (in his lifetime of Pericles), translated through Peter Jones Preface A heritage of fiction in 294 lives as soon as upon a time it'll were attainable to write down a accomplished ‘Lives of the Novelists’ – round the time, i'd danger, that Walter Scott wrote his Lives of the Novelists. The 1825 box that Scott surveyed used to be kind of coverable via a unmarried reader poring diligently over the ‘greats’, skimming the fewer than nice, and sniffing on the waste-of-time majority earlier than tossing it apart. In our time, a military of Scotts will be defeated by way of the 2 million or so eligible works within the vaults of the Scottish nationwide Library, successor to the Advocates Library which served Sir Walter’s wishes. All glossy histories of the radical are wormholes throughout the cheese (the novelist William Gibson’s neat analogy). the tale of fiction that follows is sort of as idiosyncratic because the topic itself, it being within the nature of worms to burrow much less at once than crows fly – either, like literary critics, are scavengers. What I’ve written has been sustained by way of the assumption that literary lifestyles and paintings are inseparable and collectively illuminating. this isn't, because the epigraphs within the prelims recommend, a thesis universally authorised via the novelists themselves, yet do worms care what the cheese thinks? The reader could be stunned by way of encounters with a couple of writers now not often granted access to the sacred grove. I confess that I do worth a number of fiction that literary historical past has frequently, in my opinion, wrongly undervalued.

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