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A. N. Wilson - Author

About the Author

A.N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire, where his father was Managing Director of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons. He was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist. His last novel Winnie and Wolf, was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. He lives in North London.

 

Author photo © Magali Delporte

Featured books by A. N. Wilson

Dante in Love

Dante in Love

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

In Dante in Love, A. N. Wilson presents a glittering study of an artist and his world, arguing that without an understanding of medieval Florence, it is impossible to comprehend the meaning of Dante's great poem. He explains how the Italian States were at that time locked into violent feuds, mirrored in the ferocious competition between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy. He explores Dante's preoccupations with classical mythology, numerology and the great Christian philosophers which inform every line of the Comedy. Dante in Love also lays bare the enigma of the man who never wrote about the mother of his children, yet immortalized the mysterious Beatrice, whom he barely knew. With a biographer's eye for detail and a novelist's comprehension of the creative process, A N Wilson paints a masterful portrait of Dante Alighieri and unlocks one of the seminal works of literature for a new generation of readers.

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The Elizabethans

The Elizabethans

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2011

Tells the story of the Elizabethan Age. A time of exceptional creativity, wealth creation and political expansion. It was also a period of English history more remarkable than any other for the technicolour personalities of its leading participants. Apart from the complex character of the Virgin Queen herself, we follow the story of Francis Drake and political intriguers like William Cecil and Francis Walsingham, so important to a monarch who often made a key strategy out of her indecisiveness. Favourites like Leicester and Essex skated very close to the edge as far as Elizabeth's affections were concerned, and Essex made a big mistake when he led a rebellion against the crown. There was a Renaissance during this period in the world of words, which included the all-round hero and literary genius, Sir Philip Sidney, playwright-spy Christopher Marlowe and that 'myriad-minded man', William Shakespeare. Life in Elizabethan England could be very harsh. Plague swept the land. And the poor received little assistance from the State. Thumbscrews and the rack could be the grim prelude to the executioner's block. But crucially, this was the age when modern Britain was born, and established independence from mainland Europe. After Sir Walter Raleigh established the colony of Virginia, English was destined to become the language of the great globe itself, and the the foundations were laid not only of later British imperial power but also of American domination of the world.

Other books by A. N. Wilson

Aftershocks

Aftershocks

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: eBook Release Date: 06/09/2018

"e;It's unlikely that a more intelligent, amusing and yet disturbing novel will appear this autumn."e; ScotsmanOn The Island, just as on many other islands, marriages are unhappy, people fall in love and the seasons pass. The town of Aberdeen is no different, until the earthquakes. These seismic ripples tear down houses, forge bonds, and shake the foundations of humanity and religion. And in the midst of it all, Nellie and Ingrid fall in love.In Aftershocks A. N. Wilson offers a portrait of nature, death and morality. Moved by the real losses of the Christchurch earthquake, this is an extraordinary novel about a community profoundly linked to the land it lives on."e;Witty, erudite and artful."e; Spectator

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: eBook Release Date: 12/12/2017

With the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, hailed as the man who "e;discovered evolution,"e; was propelled into the pantheon of great scientific thinkers, alongside Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton. Eminent writer A. N. Wilson challenges this long-held assumption. Contextualizing Darwin and his ideas, he offers a groundbreaking critical look at this revered figure in modern science.In this beautifully written, deeply erudite portrait, Wilson argues that Darwin was not an original scientific thinker, but a ruthless and determined self-promoter who did not credit the many great sages whose ideas he advanced in his book. Furthermore, Wilson contends that religion and Darwinism have much more in common than it would seem, for the acceptance of Darwin's theory involves a significant leap of faith.Armed with an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, Wilson explores how Darwin and his theory were very much a product of their place and time. The "e;survival of the fittest"e; was really the survival of middle class families like the Darwins-members of a relatively new economic strata who benefited from the rising Industrial Revolution at the expense of the working classes. Following Darwin's theory, the wretched state of the poor was an outcome of nature, not the greed and neglect of the moneyed classes. In a paradigm-shifting conclusion, Wilson suggests that it remains to be seen, as this class dies out, whether the Darwinian idea will survive, or whether it, like other Victorian fads, will become a footnote in our intellectual history.Brilliant, daring, and ambitious, Charles Darwin explores this legendary man as never before, and challenges us to reconsider our understanding of both Darwin and modern science itself.

Charles Darwin Victorian Mythmaker

Charles Darwin Victorian Mythmaker

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2017

'Hugely enjoyable' - Spectator 'A lucid, elegantly written and thought-provoking social and intellectual history' - Evening Standard 'As a historian trying to put Darwin in the context of his time, there is surely no better biographer than Wilson' - The Times 'A work of scholarship that is hard to put down' - Deborah Cadbury Charles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers? In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in twenty-five years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin. Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'. But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything. But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of nature's grand plan? Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.

Charles Darwin Victorian Mythmaker

Charles Darwin Victorian Mythmaker

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Charles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers? In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in twenty-five years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin. Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'. But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything. But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of Nature's grand plan? Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.

Resolution A novel of Captain Cook's discovery to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, through the eyes of botanist George Forster.

Resolution A novel of Captain Cook's discovery to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, through the eyes of botanist George Forster.

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2017

A. N. Wilson's powerful new novel explores the life and times of one of the greatest British explorers, Captain Cook, and the golden age of Britain's period of expansion and exploration. Wilson's protagonist, witness to Cook's brilliance and wisdom, is George Forster, who travelled with Cook as botanist on board the HMS Resolution, on Cook's second expedition to the southern hemisphere, and penned a famous account of the journey. Resolution moves back and forth across time, to depict Forster's time with Cook, and his extraordinary later life, which ended with his death in Paris, during the French Revolution. Wilson once again demonstrates his great powers as a master craftsman of the historical and the human in this richly evoked novel, which brings to life the real and the extraordinary, brilliantly drawing together a remarkable cast of characters in order to look at human endeavour, ingenuity and valour.

Revelations of Divine Love

Revelations of Divine Love

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/01/2017

Julian of Norwich, the famous fourteenth-century anchoress, was seriously ill and preparing for death when she received a series of 16 visions of the passion of Christ. As a result of these visions, she dedicated the rest of her life to solitary prayer, and wrote down the content of the visions, which became the first book in English known to have been written by a woman. The first vision includes her famous meditation on the hazelnut, which for her becomes an image of God's love because God made it, loves it and keeps it. 'The most original and revolutionary reading of Christ's gospel since that of St Paul.' (A. N. Wilson, from the Introduction).

Resolution A novel of Captain Cook's discovery to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, through the eyes of botanist George Forster.

Resolution A novel of Captain Cook's discovery to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, through the eyes of botanist George Forster.

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2016

A. N. Wilson's powerful new novel explores the life and times of one of the greatest British explorers, Captain Cook, and the golden age of Britain's period of expansion and exploration. Wilson's protagonist, witness to Cook's brilliance and wisdom, is George Forster, who travelled with Cook as botanist on board the HMS Resolution, on Cook's second expedition to the southern hemisphere, and penned a famous account of the journey. Resolution moves back and forth across time, to depict Forster's time with Cook, and his extraordinary later life, which ended with his death in Paris, during the French Revolution. Wilson once again demonstrates his great powers as a master craftsman of the historical and the human in this richly evoked novel, which brings to life the real and the extraordinary, brilliantly drawing together a remarkable cast of characters in order to look at human endeavour, ingenuity and valour.

Book of the People

Book of the People

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: eBook Release Date: 21/06/2016

From renowned historian, biographer, and novelist A. N. Wilson comes a deeply personal, literary, and historical exploration of the Bible.In The Book of the People, A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it might be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing, Wilson argues that it remains relevant even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical work, a work of literature, and a cultural touchstone that the western world has answered to for nearly two thousand years: Martin Luther King was "e;reading the Bible"e; when he started the civil rights movement, as was Michelangelo when he painted the fresco cycles in the Sistine Chapel. Wilson challenges the way fundamentalists-whether believers or nonbelievers-have misused the Bible, either by neglecting and failing to recognize its cultural significance or by using it as a weapon against those with whom they disagree. Erudite, witty, and accessible, The Book of the People seeks to reclaim the Good Book as our seminal work of literature and a book for the imagination.

The Queen The Life and Family of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen The Life and Family of Queen Elizabeth II

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/05/2016

Biographer and novelist A. N. Wilson, whose most recent work on the life of Queen Victoria was an enormous critical and commercial success, turns his clear eye to our own Queen, Elizabeth II. In this unusual and vibrant examination of the life and times of Britain's most iconic living figure, Wilson considers the history of the monarchy, drawing a line that stretches from Queen Victoria to the bloody history of Europe in the twentieth century, examining how and why the Royal Family has survived. He paints a vivid portrait of 'Lilibet' the woman, and of her reign, throughout which she has remained stalwart, unmoving, a trait some regard as dullness, but which Wilson argues is the key to her survival. He outlines the case for a Republic, arguing that this will almost certainly happen at some point after her reign is at an end, at least in Australia. In part historical overview, but with a keen eye to the future, A. N. Wilson writes with his signature warmth, intelligence and humour, celebrating the life of the Queen and her role as figurehead of Britain and the Commonwealth, while asking candidly whether we can remain a constitutional monarchy.

The Book of the People How to Read the Bible

The Book of the People How to Read the Bible

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/03/2016

In The Book of the People A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it might be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing, Wilson argues that it remains relevant even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical work, a work of literature and a cultural touchstone that the western world has answered to for nearly two thousand years. He challenges the way fundamentalists - whether believers or non-believers - have misused the Bible, either by neglecting and failing to recognize its cultural significance, or by using it as a weapon against those with whom they disagree. Erudite, witty and accessible, The Book of the People seeks to reclaim the Good Book as our seminal work of literature, and a book for the imagination.

Book Of The People

Book Of The People

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: eBook Release Date: 01/02/2016

The Book of the People How to Read the Bible

The Book of the People How to Read the Bible

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/05/2015

In The Book of the People A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it might be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing, Wilson argues that it remains relevant even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical work, a work of literature and a cultural touchstone that the western world has answered to for nearly two thousand years. He challenges the way fundamentalists - whether believers or non-believers - have misused the Bible, either by neglecting and failing to recognize its cultural significance, or by using it as a weapon against those with whom they disagree. Erudite, witty and accessible, The Book of the People seeks to reclaim the Good Book as our seminal work of literature, and a book for the imagination.

Betjeman

Betjeman

Author: A. N. Wilson Format: eBook Release Date: 05/05/2015

John Betjeman was by far the most popular poet of the twentieth century; his collected poems sold more than two million copies. As poet laureate of England, he became a national icon, but behind the public man were doubts and demons. The poet best known for writing hymns of praise to athletic middle-class girls on the tennis courts led a tempestuous emotional life. For much of his fifty-year marriage to Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of a field marshal, Betjeman had a relationship with Elizabeth Cavendish, the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Betjeman, a devout Anglican, was tormented by guilt about the storms this emotional triangle caused.Betjeman, published to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the poet's birth, is the first to use fully the vast archive of personal material relating to his private life, including literally hundreds of letters written by his wife about their life together and apart. Here too are chronicled his many friendships, ranging from "e;Bosie"e; Douglas to the young satirists of Private Eye, from the Mitford sisters to the Crazy Gang. This is a celebration of a much-loved poet, a brave campaigner for architecture at risk, and a highly popular public performer. Betjeman was the classic example of the melancholy clown, whose sadness found its perfect mood music in the hymns of a poignant Anglicanism.

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