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John Carey - Author

About the Author

John Carey is Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of many books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray. His guide to twentieth century literature, Pure Pleasure, was described by James Wood in the London Review of Books as 'likeable, wise and often right . . . One feels an attractive sense of partisanship in Carey's writing, an alliance with the ordinary, the plain spoken, the unlettered, the sympathetic and the humane. Carey writes with an Orwellian attention to decency'. His celebrated polemic What Good are the Arts? provoked much debate and discussion in 2005. He has been a regular critic on BBC2's Newsnight Review, and is also the editor of the best-selling anthologies The Faber Book of Reportage, The Faber Book of Science and The Faber Book of Utopias.

Featured books by John Carey

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2015

Best known for his provocative take on cultural issues in The Intellectuals and the Masses and What Good Are the Arts?, John Carey describes in this warm and funny memoir the events that formed him - an escape from the London blitz to an idyllic rural village, army service in Egypt, an open scholarship to Oxford and an academic career that saw him elected, age 40, to Oxford's oldest English Literature professorship. He frankly portrays the snobberies and rituals of 1950s Oxford, but also his inspiring meetings with writers and poets - Auden, Graves, Larkin, Heaney - and his forty-year stint as a lead book-reviewer for the Sunday Times. This is a book about the joys of reading - in effect, an informal introduction to the great works of English literature. But it is also about war and family, and how an unexpected background can give you the insight and the courage to say the unexpected thing.

Other books by John Carey

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2015

Best known for his provocative take on cultural issues in The Intellectuals and the Masses and What Good Are the Arts?, John Carey describes in this warm and funny memoir the events that formed him - an escape from the London blitz to an idyllic rural village, army service in Egypt, an open scholarship to Oxford and an academic career that saw him elected, age 40, to Oxford's oldest English Literature professorship. He frankly portrays the snobberies and rituals of 1950s Oxford, but also his inspiring meetings with writers and poets - Auden, Graves, Larkin, Heaney - and his forty-year stint as a lead book-reviewer for the Sunday Times. This is a book about the joys of reading - in effect, an informal introduction to the great works of English literature. But it is also about war and family, and how an unexpected background can give you the insight and the courage to say the unexpected thing.

What Good are the Arts?

What Good are the Arts?

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/10/2018

From one of the country's most eminent reviewers and academics, a delightfully sceptical and devastatingly intelligent assessment of the true value of art.

Duck Soup and Swansongs

Duck Soup and Swansongs

Author: John Carey Format: eBook Release Date: 02/01/2018

';Witty, finely crafted, genuinely funny, Carey's poems surprise with their clever double takes on society's faults and foibles. At once erudite and bitingly topical, Carey has a keen eye for the humorous detail and the deeper resonances of global stupidity. Carey shows himself adept at both the brief political quip like the Tony Abbot-inspired ';Captain's Pick Haiku' or the longer reflective analysis of presidential egomania in ';Another Day at the Office'. I can think of very few poets with such a capacity for sustained humour and inventiveness. Underlying Carey's poems is a clear-sighted voice that registers the follies, pretensions and violence of humanity.' Peter Boyle

The Essential Paradise Lost

The Essential Paradise Lost

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/03/2017

After its publication in 1667, John Milton's Paradise Lost was celebrated throughout Europe as a supreme achievement of the human spirit. Now it is little read. To bring readers back to Milton's masterpiece, John Carey has shortened it to a third of its original length. In this fascinating reinterpretation, Carey reveals new insights about Milton's sources of inspiration, while exploring divided readings of the work's key characters. The Essential Paradise Lost presents the epic's greatest poetry, with linking passages that preserve its cosmic sweep - from the superhuman defiance of a ruined archangel to a pair of tragic lovers, bewildered to find themselves responsible for the fate of the whole human race.

Essential Paradise Lost

Essential Paradise Lost

Author: John Carey Format: eBook Release Date: 28/02/2017

After its publication in 1667, John Milton's Paradise Lost was celebrated throughout Europe as a supreme achievement of the human spirit. Now it is little read. To bring readers back to Milton's masterpiece, John Carey has shortened it to a third of its original length. In this fascinating reinterpretation, Carey reveals new insights about Milton's sources of inspiration, while exploring divided readings of the work's key characters. The Essential Paradise Lost presents the epic's greatest poetry, with linking passages that preserve its cosmic sweep - from the superhuman defiance of a ruined archangel to a pair of tragic lovers, bewildered to find themselves responsible for the fate of the whole human race.

William Golding's Lord of the Flies

William Golding's Lord of the Flies

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/01/2016

In 1954 William Golding was 43 years old and a nobody. He had been demobbed from the navy at the end of World War Two and returned to his pre-war job teaching English at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. Always hard up, he lived in what he called a lousy council flat with his wife, Ann, and their two young children. In 1952 he finished the novel that was to become Lord of the Flies, and sent it to five publishers and a literary agency. They all rejected it. The sixth publisher he tried was Faber and Faber, and the professional reader wrote her opinion on the typescript: Time the Future. Absurd & uninteresting fantasy about the explosion of an atom bomb on the Colonies. A group of children who land in jungle country near New Guinea. Rubbish & dull. But the novel was rescued from the reject pile by a new recruit to Faber, and when it was finally published in September 1954 the poet Stevie Smith greeted it as this beautiful and desperate book . In the early 1960s cultural commentators noted that Lord of the Flies was replacing Salinger's Catcher in the Rye as the bible of the American adolescent. Its anti-war tenor helped to ensure its profound impact on the young at a time when the Cold War was hotting up. Since then, his masterpiece has established itself as a modern classic. In this short, compelling guide, John Carey tells us how and why.

Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems

Milton: The Complete Shorter Poems

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/10/2015

This masterly edition contains all of Milton's English poems, with the exception of Paradise Lost, together with translations and texts of all his Latin, Italian and Greek poems. First published in 1968 - and substantially updated in 1996 - John Carey's edition has, with Alastair Fowler's Paradise Lost, established itself as the pre-eminent edition of Milton's poetry, both for the student and the general reader. Hailed as 'a very Bible of a Milton', the extensive notes and headnotes serve to illuminate the wealth of Milton's allusions and to synthesize the judgements and disagreements of a bewildering array of modern critics. Each headnote sets out details of composition and context which will deepen any reader's appreciation of the poetry, while also providing a concise overview of the critical and scholarly debates that continue to flame around the work of one of the greatest poets in the English language. Steeped in learning though it undoubtedly is, it is also an unfailing light to those who wish to plot their own path through the dazzling riches of Milton's imagination.

The End and Beyond

The End and Beyond

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/12/2014

What awaits us beyond the grave is perhaps the fundamental human mystery. Visionary accounts of the afterlife are attested long before the Common Era, and loomed large in the imaginative universe of early Christianity. The medieval Irish inherited and further transformed this tradition, producing vivid eschatological narratives which had a profound impact throughout Europe as well as being works of remarkable literary and spiritual power in their own right. Under the headings `Soul and Body', `The Seven Heavens', `The Next World', and `The Judgement and its Signs', this book presents critical editions, with translation and commentary, of 26 eschatological texts from the Old, Middle, and Early Modern Irish periods, together with related material in Latin and Old English. Some of these works are here edited for the first time. Extended essays survey Irish eschatological literature a whole, and place it in its wider context; and the volume concludes with a comprehensive handlist of Irish eschatological compositions. This book consists of two volumes.

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/03/2014

Best known for his provocative take on cultural issues in The Intellectuals and the Masses and What Good Are the Arts?, John Carey describes in this warm and funny memoir the events that formed him - an escape from the London blitz to an idyllic rural village, army service in Egypt, an open scholarship to Oxford and an academic career that saw him elected, age 40, to Oxford's oldest English Literature professorship. He frankly portrays the snobberies and rituals of 1950s Oxford, but also his inspiring meetings with writers and poets - Auden, Graves, Larkin, Heaney - and his forty-year stint as a lead book-reviewer for the Sunday Times. This is a book about the joys of reading - in effect, an informal introduction to the great works of English literature. But it is also about war and family, and how an unexpected background can give you the insight and the courage to say the unexpected thing.

Latin Prosody Made Easy

Latin Prosody Made Easy

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2011

Believe in People The Essential Karel Capek

Believe in People The Essential Karel Capek

Author: John Carey, Karel Capek Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/08/2010

Playful and provocative, irreverent and inspiring, Capek is perhaps the best-loved Czech writer of all time. Novelist and playwright, famed for inventing the word 'robot' in his play RUR, Capek was a vital part of the burgeoning artistic scene of Czechoslovakia of the 1920s and 30s. But it is in his journalism - his brief, sparky and delightful columns - that Capek can be found at his most succinct, direct and appealing. This selection of Capek's writing, translated into English for the first time, contains his essential ideas. The pieces are animated by his passion for the ordinary and the everyday - from laundry to toothache, from cats to cleaning windows - his love of language, his lyrical observations of the world and above all his humanism, his belief in people. His letters to his wife Olga, also published here, are extraordinarily moving and beautifully distinct from his other writings. Uplifting, enjoyable and endlessly wise, Believe in People is a collection to treasure.

M. Accii Plauti Com Di, Superstites Viginti

M. Accii Plauti Com Di, Superstites Viginti

Author: John Carey, Titus Maccius Plautus Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/12/2009

The Violent Effigy A Study of Dickens' Imagination

The Violent Effigy A Study of Dickens' Imagination

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/12/2008

An exploration of the strange poetry of Dickens's imagination by leading academic and critic John Carey. Setting aside the usual interpretations of Dickens's work, A Violent Effigy delves into the wonderful, terrible fantasy world it inhabited. It shows Dickens torn between the appeal of violence and a fanatical orderliness: he was attracted by characters who commit murder or burst into flame or want to eat one another, but also required people soaped and regimented. The children he created were either the pious gnomes beloved of Victorian readers or callous, sharp-nosed children who pick out adults by the odd personal atmospheres they carry around. Among his females are mythic women whose insidious miniature weapons - needles, scissors - threaten the dominant male. He created a shadow-land between life and death, peopled by effigies, walking coffins, waxworks, stuffed creatures and disturbingly animated corpses. John Carey skilfully shows how Dickens demolished Victorian shams, while keeping at bay the terrors of his fantasy. He celebrates, above all, Dickens' peculiar genius for renewing the world by the curious lights he saw in it.

Working Bassist

Working Bassist

Author: John Carey Format: eBook Release Date: 01/09/2008

The Working Bassist, What You Really Need to Know to Survive in New York City Written for bassists and musicians alike, The Working Bassist, What You Really Need to Know to Survive in New York City, is designed to inform musicians and bassists interested in coming to New York City to pursue their musical endeavors. In addition to being informative, the series of interviews has been geared towards inspiring those who are already working musicians and bassists. The book contains over 30 interviews with NYC's busiest bassists, including top session players, sideman, soloists, bass instructors and NYC luthier, Roger Sadowsky. In addition, author John Carey provides several helpful tips on how to survive in New York City as a working bassist. Interviews include:Johannes Weidenmuller (Kenny Werner & educator at The New School Jazz & Contemporary Music, NYC), Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz), Patrick Pfeiffer (Bass Guitar for Dummies), Neil Jason (Cindy Lauper), Tim Lefebvre (James Taylor), Conrad Korsch (Rod Stewart), Mark Plati (David Bowie), Steve Jenkins (Vernon Reid), Mike Visceglia (Suzanne Vega), Roger Sadowsky (NYC luthier), Irio O'Farrill (NYC Broadway ace), Meshell Ndegocello (artist), Reggie Washington, Janek Gwizdala (Mike Stern), Ivan "e;Funkboy"e; Bodley (Sam Moore), Paul Frazier (David Byrne), Jeff Allen (Duncan Sheik), Kim Clarke (Defunkt), Percy Jones (Brand X) and many many more!!!REVIEWS:"e;This kind of veteran information can be considered a kind of survival guide to becoming a working, professional bass player, and should be required reading at music schools."e;Mike Visceglia - bassist & musical director for Suzanne Vega"e;John Carey has managed to put together a beautiful palette of colorful characters in his collection of interviews with New York City bassists, shedding light on how focus, dedication and perseverance helped each one of them make it in the ultimate metropolis of the performing arts. Carey's book should serve as a great inspiration for any new (or old) bass player trying to make it in The Big Apple."e;Patrick Pfeiffer - bassist & author of Bass Guitar for Dummies & Improve Your Groove"e;Author and working bassist John Carey has done the legwork for you and interviewed over thirty of New York cities top bassists. After breezing through this easy-to-read book, you will find '25 tips for success', a section with 'New York City Wisdom, Perspective and Inspiration' and even a space for your own notes!"e;Bass Musician Magazine"e;When New York bassist John Carey first approached me with his book, I thought, Finally! New York has always been extremely alluring but also intimidating, massive and overwhelming, so a guide to a bass player's specific needs is a godsend. Carey succeeds in bringing focused attention on the real-life experiences of a wide array of New York City bassists. . . Anyone toying with the idea of a move ought to buy this immediately."e;Bass Player Magazine"e;John's book is a great primer for bass players entering the scene. As the Zen Master's say, 'Fight your shame. Learn all you can from others. This is the secret to a successful life.'"e;John Miller - Broadway contractor, bassist & music coordinator"e;Carey has assembled a wealth of ideas for networking, sharing specific bass concepts, philosophy and equipment needs."e;Mark Egan - professional bassist (Sting, Mat Metheny Group, David Sanborn, Joan Osborne)"e;The Working Bassist, What You Really Need to Know to Survive in New York City, is an essential tool for any bassist who aspires to work in New York City or any other major metropolitan area. This is real world information that will prove to be invaluable to your career."e;Irio O'Farrill - professional bassist, music educator and author"e;Relevant questions, interesting and useful answers . . . a detailed but practical reference for musicians everywhere."e;Lincoln Goines - professional bassist (Randy Brecker, Tito Puente, Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Dizzy Gillespie

John Donne Life, Mind and Art

John Donne Life, Mind and Art

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/07/2008

'Donne is perhaps the most intellectual of English poets, and John Carey is perhaps the most intelligent of contemporary English literary critics. The encounter, as one might expect, is fierce and enthralling... This book is sensitive, searching, powerful, exciting, provocative and witty. It is a superb achievement.' Christopher Hill, TLS John Donne: Life, Mind and Art is a unique attempt to see Donne whole. Beginning with an account of his life, it takes as its domain not only the whole range of the poetry, but also the sermons, the letters, the spiritual and controversial works, and such highly personal documents as the treatise on suicide. 'The one book we have needed all along... A magnificent exercise in reappraisal. I have never read a critical work which reaches as deeply inside the mind of its subject.' Jonathan Raban, Sunday Times

Thackeray Prodigal Genius

Thackeray Prodigal Genius

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/07/2008

A new approach to Thackeray. Although this study embraces all his work, it switches attention from his late novels, and bases the case for his imaginative vitality on the multifarious material - reviews, travel books, burlesques, Punch articles - that he turned out, mostly under severe financial stress, at the start of his writing career. Here was the breeding ground of Vanity Fair; here we find the subversive Thackeray, foe of humbug and high art, waylaying snobbery and the cant of social reformers with bravura and buffoonery - the Thackeray who, in Trollope's words, 'laughed, and ate, and drank, and threw his pearls about with miraculous profusion.' In portraying the range and intensity of Thackeray's imagination, topics singled out include: light and painting; ballet dancers; pantomime; haute cuisine; time's ruins; and the rainbow realm of commerce. The picture of Thackeray, as man and artist, that emerges, is fresh and challenging.

What Good Are the Arts?

What Good Are the Arts?

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/01/2006

Hailed as exhilarating and suggestive (Spectator), thought-provoking and entertaining (David Lodge, Sunday Times), and incisive and inspirational (Guardian), What Good are the Arts? offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. John Carey-one of Britain's most respected literary critics-here cuts through the cant surrounding the fine arts, debunking claims that the arts make us better people or that judgments about art are anything more than personal opinion. But Carey does argue strongly for the value of art as an activity and for the superiority of one art in particular: literature. Literature, he contends, is the only art capable of reasoning, and the only art that can criticize. Literature has the ability to inspire the mind and the heart towards practical ends far better than any work of conceptual art. Here then is a lively and stimulating invitation to debate the value of art, a provocative book that anyone seriously interested in the arts should read (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post).

Cin Chille Cuile - Texts, Saints and Places Essays in Honour of Padraig O Riain

Cin Chille Cuile - Texts, Saints and Places Essays in Honour of Padraig O Riain

Author: John Carey Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/11/2004

An attractive volume containing 28 substantial studies by John Carey, Maire Herbert, Mairin Ni Dhonnchadha, Maire Ni Mhaonaigh, Sean O Coileain,Donnchadh O Corrain, and other leading Celtic scholars, focusing on the subjects of Celtic Saints, Irish placenames, Irish literature and language of all periods. Includes a bibliography of the publications of Professor Padraig O Riain, the leader of the Irish Place Name Survey. 8 chapters are in Gaelic.

The Faber Book of Utopias

The Faber Book of Utopias

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/09/2000

Every age has its utopias, from Plato's Republic to contemporary sci-fi visions. In this spellbinding anthology John Carey charts the course of every conceivable dream world - whether communist, fascist, anarchist, green, golden age, techno-fantastic or hermaphroditic - combining a broad historical sweep with lively variety. An experienced and imaginative anthologist, editor of The Faber Book of Reportage and The Faber Book of Science, Carey has gathered together a vast range of texts from Ancient Egypt to modern California, the authors of which, in different ways, attempt to describe a better world than our own.

King of Mysteries Early Irish Religious Writings

King of Mysteries Early Irish Religious Writings

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2000

Ildanach Ildirech. A Festschrift for Proinsias Mac Cana

Ildanach Ildirech. A Festschrift for Proinsias Mac Cana

Author: John Carey, John T. Koch, Pierre-Yves Lambert, John T. Koch Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/01/1999

An exploration of the links between the languages, cultures and traditions of the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Britain through an analysis of literary sources, place or people names and the Gaelic language. Twenty-six English, Gaelic or French essays, include extracts from Celtic texts, accompanied by detailed commentaries, and comparisons between these three main areas of influence.

The Faber Book of Science

The Faber Book of Science

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/1998

The Faber Book of Science introduces hunting spiders and black holes, gorillas and stardust, protons, photons and neutrinos. In his acclaimed anthology, John Carey plots the development of modern science from Leonardo da Vinci to Chaos Theory. The emphasis is on the scientists themselves and their own accounts of their breakthroughs and achievements. The classic science-writers are included - Darwin, T.H. Huxley and Jean Henri Fabre tracking insects through the Provencal countryside. So too are today's experts - Steve Jones on the Human Genome Project, Richard Dawkins on DNA and many other representatives of the contemporary genre of popular science-writing which, John Carey argues, challenges modern poetry and fiction in its imaginative power.

The Intellectuals and the Masses Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia 1880-1939

The Intellectuals and the Masses Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia 1880-1939

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/1992

Professor John Carey shows how early twentieth-century intellectuals imagined the 'masses' as semi-human swarms, drugged by popular newspapers and cinema, and ripe for extermination. Exposing the revulsion from common humanity in George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, W. B. Yeats and other canonized writers, he relates this to the cult of the Nietzschean Superman, which found its ultimate exponent in Hitler. Carey's assault on the founders of modern culture caused consternation throughout the artistic and academic establishments when it was first published in 1992.

John Donne Life, Mind and Art

John Donne Life, Mind and Art

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/05/1990

An examination of the life and work of John Donne. The book begins with an account of Donne's life and takes as its domain not only the whole range of poetry, but also the sermons, the letters, the spiritual and controversial works, and such highly personal documents as the treatise on suicide.

The Faber Book of Reportage

The Faber Book of Reportage

Author: John Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/10/1989

What was it like to be caught in the firestorm that destroyed Pompeii? To have dinner with Attila the Hun? To watch the charge of the Light Brigade? To see the Titanic slide beneath the waves? John Carey's best-selling Faber Book of Reportage draws its eyewitness account from memoirs, travel books and newspapers. This is history with the varnish removed. 'A quite stunning collection. There are descriptions in this book so fresh that they sear themselves into the imagination.' Jeremy Paxman

Author Info

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http://www.johncarey.org/

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