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John Sutherland - Author

About the Author

John Sutherland has been a professor of literature for a long time and in many places. Currently he teaches at the California Institute of Technology and is the emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor at UCL. He is the author of numerous books, including the puzzle-collection Is Heathcliff a Murderer? (probably, yes) and the encyclopedic Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction. In recent years he has written voluminously on a variety of literary and non-literary topics in, principally, the Guardian and the Financial Times.

Featured books by John Sutherland

How to be Well Read A Guide to 567 Essential Novels

How to be Well Read A Guide to 567 Essential Novels

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/05/2014

His taste is impressively catholic: an appreciation of The Ambassadors is immediately followed by a consideration of American Psycho. War and Peace, Heat and Dust and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all make an appearance. There are imposing Victorian novels, entertaining contemporary thrillers and everything in between, from spy novels to romance. In each case a sense of the flavour of the novel is brilliantly evoked and a compelling case made for why it should be a candidate for the bookshelf or bedside table. The end result is both a wonderful dip-in book and a virtual history of the novel.

ebook of the month

Other books by John Sutherland


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Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? More Puzzles in Classic Fiction

Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? More Puzzles in Classic Fiction

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2017

'Wonderful...concise, witty, effortlessly learned.' Sunday Times How does Magwitch swim to shore with a great iron on his leg? Where does Fanny Hill keep her contraceptives? Whose side is Hawkeye on? And how does Clarissa Dalloway get home so quickly? In this new edition sequel to the enormously successful Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, John Sutherland plays literary detective and investigates 32 literary conundrums, ranging from Daniel Defoe to Virginia Woolf. As in its universally loved predecessor, the questions and answers are ingenious and convincing, and return the reader with new respect to the great novels that inspire them.


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Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2017

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER IN A BRAND NEW EDITION 'Enchanting...the most engagingly boffiny book imaginable.' Spectator Does Becky kill Jos at the end of Vanity Fair? Why does no one notice that Hetty is pregnant in Adam Bede? How, exactly, does Victor Frankenstein make his monster? Readers of Victorian fiction often find themselves tripping up on seeming anomalies, enigmas and mysteries in their favourite novels. In Is Heathcliff a Murderer? John Sutherland investigates 34 conundrums of nineteenth-century fiction, paying homage to the most rewarding of critical activities: close reading and the pleasures of good-natured pedantry


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The Brontesaurus An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte (and Branwell)

The Brontesaurus An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte (and Branwell)

Author: John Sutherland, John Crace Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2017

Did Charlotte Bronte take opium? Did the Reverend Bronte carry a loaded pistol? What, precisely, does `wuthering' mean? Distinguished literary critic John Sutherland takes an idiosyncratic look at the world of the Brontes, from the bumps on Charlotte's head to the nefarious origins of Mr Rochester's fortune, by way of astral telephony, letterwriting dogs, an exploding peat bog, and much, much more. Also features `Jane Eyre abbreviated' by John Crace, author of the Guardian's `Digested Reads' column - read Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece in five minutes!


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Orwell's Nose A Pathological Biography

Orwell's Nose A Pathological Biography

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2017

Orwell's Nose, now available in paperback, is an original and imaginative account of the life and work of George Orwell, exploring the 'scent narratives' that abound in Orwell's fiction and non-fiction. This illuminating and irreverent book provides a new understanding of one of our most iconic and influential writers.


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The War on The Old

The War on The Old

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/11/2016

The war on the old has been declared.In the post-Brexit world, intergenerational conflict has become a visible phenomenon. There is an overwhelming sense of blame from younger generations: it was 'the wrinklies', the grey-haired plutocracy, who voted Leave; who are overburdening hospitals, shutting the youth out of the housing market and hoarding accumulated wealth.By 2020, we are told, one in five Britons will be pensioners, and living a longer retirement than ever before. 'A good thing', politicians add, through gritted teeth. The truth is that for them, 'the old' are a social, economic and political inconvenience.John Sutherland (age 78, and feeling keenly what he writes about) examines this intergenerational combat as a new kind of war in which institutional neglect and universal indifference to the old has reached aggressive, and routinely lethal, levels. This is a book which sets out to provoke but in the process tells some deep and inconvenient truths, revealing something British society would rather not think about.

The Brontesaurus An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte (and Branwell)

The Brontesaurus An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte (and Branwell)

Author: John Sutherland, John Crace Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

In the year of Charlotte's bicentenary, a light-hearted miscellany on all things Bronte. Did Charlotte Bronte take opium? Did the Reverend Bronte carry a loaded pistol? What, precisely, does 'wuthering' mean?

ebook of the month

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Orwell's Nose A Pathological Biography

Orwell's Nose A Pathological Biography

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/08/2016

Some time ago, John Sutherland permanently lost his sense of smell. At about the same time he embarked on a re-reading of George Orwell's works, and his lack of olfactory sense cast an entirely new light on the re-evaluation. What he now noticed was just how acutely attuned to scent Orwell was: rich descriptions of odours, fetors and reeks occur throughout his works, from Winston Smith's apartment building in Nineteen Eighty-Four: 'The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats,' to John Flory's concubine Ma Hla May in Burmese Days: 'A mingled scent of sandalwood, garlic, coconut oil and the jasmine in her hair floated from her.'Orwell's Nose is an original and imaginative account of the life and work of George Orwell, exploring the 'scent narratives' that abound in Orwell's fiction and non-fiction. Along the way the author elucidates questions that remain unanswered in previous biographies, and addresses gaps in the evidence of the writer's life and legacy. Orwell covered his tracks well; this illuminating and irreverent book provides a new understanding of one of our most iconic and influential writers.


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The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction

The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/07/2016

With over 900 biographical entries, more than 600 novels synopsized, and a wealth of background material on the publishers, reviewers and readers of the age the Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction is the fullest account of the period's fiction ever published. Now in a second edition, the book has been revised and a generous selection of images have been chosen to illustrate various aspects of Victorian publishing, writing, and reading life. Organised alphabetically, the information provided will be a boon to students, researchers and all lovers of reading. The entries, though concise, meet the high standards demanded by modern scholarship. The writing - marked by Sutherland's characteristic combination of flair, clarity and erudition - is of such a high standard that the book is a joy to read, as well as a definitive work of reference.


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How Good is Your Grammar? (Probably Better Than You Think)

How Good is Your Grammar? (Probably Better Than You Think)

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

The ultimate test of grammar rules - the grammar book serialised in the Times feature Grammar for Grown-ups . How good is your grammar? John Sutherland, one of Britain's most celebrated professors of English literature, is here to test, stretch, amuse and instruct you with his definitive quiz on all things grammatical. Why do purists insist that 'television' is wrong while 'telephone' is correct? Was Bill Clinton taking risks with language as well as his presidency when he declared, 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'? And can the use of 'ain't' ever be defended, especially when there's no sunshine when she's gone? This is neither a rule book nor a primer but a rollercoaster ride through the mysteries and magic of the world's greatest language.


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iGuerilla

iGuerilla

Author: John Sutherland Format: eBook Release Date: 25/06/2015

iGuerilla: Reshaping the Face of War in the 21st Century, is a book in the tradition of Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm. Like Paine, author John Sutherland alerts those in the large populace of the United States and Western Europe that an international war is underway. And like Churchill, he traces the trails of war to the present to bring an understanding of the changing nature of war and the psychology and goals of those who conduct it, and why they conduct it. The book is a projection of the future and delves into the manner in which the future will unveil. It is an illustration too, of how the war is being conducted, by those known as jihadists and the manner in which they use technology to return modern society to a dark age they call the Caliphate. The author describes in detail the weaknesses of those jihadists and how they can be defeated, and the manner that will quiet them for decades to come.


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Last Drink to La

Last Drink to La

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2015

I touched bottom, as alcoholics like to say, on 12 February 1983 (the date is slightly fuzzy). Thirty-one years ago John Sutherland nearly lost everything to drink. A married man, with family, working as a visiting professor of English on the west coast of America, he awoke from a blackout to find he was lying next to a stranger - a very strange stranger. This was his morning of clarity; it was time to sober up. Or die. Last Drink To LA is part reportage, part confession, in which John takes a frank look at drinking culture on both sides of the Atlantic, weighing up the pros and cons of Alcoholics Anonymous, which since its launch nearly a century ago has sparked hot debate. Is it a cult, or the best life-saver drinkers have? What John courageously 'shares' here is not a temperance tale (told to terrify, inform and instruct), not what AA calls a 'drunkalog', but a moving and thought-provoking meditation - some thinking about drinking and the devastating effects it has on individuals, families and society at large.


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Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway

Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway

Author: John Sutherland, Susanna Hislop Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2014

It is hard to find anyone nowadays who will dare venture a bad word on Mrs Dalloway: its status as a pioneer feminist text and a brilliantly experimental work is wholly secure. At the time of its publication, however, opinions were more mixed. It was hard in the mid-1920s to come to terms with what, for many, seemed a vexatiously new-fangled work. The reading public was not yet ready for the challenge of what came to be called stream of consciousness narrative, or the inner richness of a novel whose main event, a superficial reading might suggest, is an upper-class Conservative politician's wife's purchase of flowers for a summer party. This, recall, in the immediate aftermath of a conflict, the First World War, which had shaken the whole of Europe to its foundations. Before, during, and after writing Mrs Dalloway Woolf teetered on the edge of mental breakdown, and more than once fell into its awful depths. And on the edge of the main plot of Mrs Dalloway, and its heroine's outwardly serene existence, she places Septimus Smith - a shell-shocked survivor of the Great War who finds peacetime too terrible to continue living in. Mrs Dalloway is a novel which provokes thought about the fraught nature of genius, literary modernism, the ambiguous place of women in English society and literature, the infinite complexities of sexual relationships, and even the worthwhileness of life itself. This book seeks to explore all this and to show that reading Mrs Dalloway can be one of the most rewarding experiences English fiction has to offer.


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A Little History of Literature

A Little History of Literature

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2014

This 'little history' takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter. John Sutherland is perfectly suited to the task. He has researched, taught, and written on virtually every area of literature, and his infectious passion for books and reading has defined his own life. Now he guides young readers and the grown-ups in their lives on an entertaining journey 'through the wardrobe' to a greater awareness of how literature from across the world can transport us and help us to make sense of what it means to be human. Sutherland introduces great classics in his own irresistible way, enlivening his offerings with humor as well as learning: Beowulf, Shakespeare, Don Quixote, the Romantics, Dickens, Moby Dick, The Waste Land, Woolf, 1984, and dozens of others. He adds to these a less-expected, personal selection of authors and works, including literature usually considered well below 'serious attention' - from the rude jests of Anglo-Saxon runes to The Da Vinci Code. With masterful digressions into various themes - censorship, narrative tricks, self-publishing, taste, creativity, and madness - Sutherland demonstrates the full depth and intrigue of reading. For younger readers, he offers a proper introduction to literature, promising to interest as much as instruct. For more experienced readers, he promises just the same.

How to be Well Read A Guide to 567 Essential Novels

How to be Well Read A Guide to 567 Essential Novels

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/05/2014

His taste is impressively catholic: an appreciation of The Ambassadors is immediately followed by a consideration of American Psycho. War and Peace, Heat and Dust and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all make an appearance. There are imposing Victorian novels, entertaining contemporary thrillers and everything in between, from spy novels to romance. In each case a sense of the flavour of the novel is brilliantly evoked and a compelling case made for why it should be a candidate for the bookshelf or bedside table. The end result is both a wonderful dip-in book and a virtual history of the novel.

ebook of the month

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Jane Austen's Emma

Jane Austen's Emma

Author: John Sutherland, Jolyon Connell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/09/2012

A heroine whom no-one but myself will much like, the author famously proclaimed. In fact, in any league of likeability Miss Woodhouse is streets ahead of Miss Fanny - the ostentatiously meek heroine of Mansfield Park. Meek Emma is not. Indeed it is her sense of absolute sovereignty over her little world of Highbury - her right, as she presumes, to dispose of the marriage choices of those in her circle - which brings her to grief. And that grief, by the familiar course of the heroine's moral education in Austen's fiction, makes her, through remorse and repentance, a mature woman capable of forming correct judgements. Not least about whom Miss Woodhouse herself will marry. Emma, of all the six great novels, is the one which conforms most closely to Austen's famous formula that three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on . Emma is, by general agreement, the quietest of the novels. Some have complained that there is not enough of a story in it, but others, as this guide shows, have found the plot in Emma the most successful Austen achieved. It is, for example, unusual among the sextet in playing a cunning trick on the reader who - unless they are sharp (sharper certainly than Miss Woodhouse) - may well be deluded as to which eligible young (or less than young) man the heroine will end up spending the rest of her life with. Or whether, given her frequently uttered distaste for marriage, she will end up the only unwed of the six heroines at the end of it all.


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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Author: John Sutherland, Jolyon Connell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/06/2012

When The Great Gatsby was first published, in 1925, reviews were mixed. H.L. Mencken called it no more than a glorified anecdote . L.P. Hartley, author of The Go-Between, thought Fitzgerald deserved a good shaking : The Great Gatsby is evidently not a satire; but one would like to think that Mr Fitzgerald's heart is not in it, that it is a piece of mere naughtiness. Yet, gradually the book came to be seen as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - of American novels. Why? What is it that makes this story of a petty hoodlum so compelling? Why has a novel so intimately rooted in its own time lasted into ours? What is it that posterity, eight decades later, finds so fascinating in this chronicle of the long-gone Jazz Age , flappers, speakeasies and wild parties? It is, after all, scarcely a novel at all, more a long short story. But it has a power out of all proportion to its length. It is beautifully written, making it feel even shorter than it is, and is full of haunting imagery. It is also, perhaps, the most vivid literary evocation of the Great American Dream , about which it is profoundly sceptical, as it is about dreams generally. In the end, however, as D.H. Lawrence would put it, it is on the side of life . Gatsby's dream may be impossible, so much so that the book can end in no other way than with his death, but up to a point he is redeemed by it and by the tenacity with which he clings to it. It is this that makes the novel so moving and so haunting.

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