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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Like the masters of pulp memorialized in this bighearted book, Sutherland is something of a genre writer himself.Read Full Review of Lives of the Novelists: A His... | See more reviews from NY Times
He approaches the 294 novelists he essays with the eye of a magazine profile writer as well as the judgment of an emeritus professor, always on the lookout for the telling biographical detail that might explain the books, and with a nose for Grub Street gossip.Read Full Review of Lives of the Novelists: A His... | See more reviews from Guardian
...Mr. Sutherland notes the "support, encouragement, assistance and (all too often) corrections" of four editors and adds that "the mistakes which remain are, alas, all mine." There are a good many of them. I spotted 50 before I stopped counting...Read Full Review of Lives of the Novelists: A His... | See more reviews from WSJ online
It may be a reference book, but it's something more: It tells the story of the people who've told our culture's stories, high and low and otherwise, for 21/2 centuries.Read Full Review of Lives of the Novelists: A His... | See more reviews from LA Times
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