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

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Yale University Press, Mar 27, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 832 pages
32 Reviews

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.

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

User Review  - Goodreads

The author makes no bones that these are his personal selections, but with 294 lives, each summarized in a 2-5 page mini-bio, pretty much everyone is here if you sat down and made a list of the top ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Cedricsmom - Goodreads

This book is so much fun. Written by an academic and published by Yale university Press, Lives is not what I'd expected. It's dishy and gossipy, filled with fun facts that you probably didn't know ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

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.

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