The Things that Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say about the Stages of Life

Front Cover
Anchor Books, 2007 - Literary Collections - 264 pages
19 Reviews
She felt rather inclined just for a moment to stand still after all that chatter, and pick out one particular thing; the thing that mattered . . .Virginia Woolf, To The LighthouseAn illuminating exploration of how seven of the greatest English novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts—portray the essential experiences of life.

Edward Mendelson—a professor of English at Columbia University—illustrates how each novel is a living portrait of the human condition while expressing its author’s complex individuality and intentions and emerging from the author’s life and times. He explores Frankenstein as a searing representation of child neglect and abandonment and Mrs. Dalloway as a portrait of an ideal but almost impossible adult love, and leads us to a fresh and fascinating new understanding of each of the seven novels, reminding us—in the most captivating way—why they matter.

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Review: The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life

User Review  - Ellee - Goodreads

Am done with the book for now. It's well-thought out literary criticism, but not quite what I was looking for at the moment. Read full review

Review: The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life

User Review  - Goodreads

Really thoughtful and insightful analysis of seven books and what they have to say about life. A pleasure to read. Read full review

All 13 reviews »

About the author (2007)

Edward Mendelson is a professor of English Literature at Columbia University. He is the literary executor of the Estate of W.H. Auden and is the author of the biographies of Early Auden and Later Auden. He has written essays on and prepared editions of George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, and Thomas Pynchon, among others. He lives in New York City.

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