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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

Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

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

Great Expectations is one of the best-selling Victorian novels of our time. No Dickens work, with the exception of A Christmas Carol, has been adapted more for both film and television. It has been as popular with critics as it has with the public. In 1937, George Bernard Shaw called the novel Dickens's most compactly perfect book . John Lucas describes it as the most perfect and the most beautiful of all Dickens's novels , Angus Wilson as the most completely unified work of art that Dickens ever produced . Great Expectations has been so successful partly because it's an exciting story. Dickens always had a keen eye on the market and subscribed to Wilkie Collins's advice: make `em laugh, make `em cry, above all make `em wait. From the violent opening scene on the marshes to the climax of Magwitch's attempted escape on the Thames, the story is full of suspense, mystery and drama. But while these elements of Great Expectations have ensured its popularity, it is also a novel which, as this guide will seek to show, raises profound questions not just about the nature of Victorian society but about the way human relationships work and the extent to which people are shaped by their childhoods and the circumstances in which they grow up.

Lives of the Novelists

Lives of the Novelists

Author: John Sutherland Format: eBook Release Date: 27/03/2012

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.

The Dickens Dictionary An A-Z of England's Greatest Novelist

The Dickens Dictionary An A-Z of England's Greatest Novelist

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/02/2012

For fans new and old, an enjoyable tour through the world of Dickens in the hands of a master critic. Charles Dickens, the 'Great Inimitable', created a riotous fictional world that still lives and breathes for thousands of readers today. But how much do we really know about the dazzling imagination that brought all this into being? For the bicentenary of Dickens' birth, Victorian literature expert John Sutherland has created a gloriously wide-ranging alphabetical companion to Dickens' work, excavating the hidden links between his characters, themes, and preoccupations, and the minutiae of his endlessly inventive wordplay. Covering America, Bastards, Childhood, Christmas, Empire, Fog, Larks, London, Madness, Murder, Orphans, Pubs, Punishment, Smells, Spontaneous Combustion and Zoo to name but a few - John Sutherland gives us a uniquely personal guide to the great man's work. Excerpt: HANDS; Every Dickens novel has a master image. In Our Mutual Friend it is the river. In Bleak House it is the fog. In Little Dorrit, it is the prison. In Great Expectations it is the hand. We often know much more about the principals' hands in that novel than their faces. Who, when the name Magwitch is mentioned, does not think of those murderous 'large brown veinous hands'? Jaggers? One's nose twitches---scented soap (the lawyer, like Pontius Pilate, is forever washing his hands). Miss Havisham? Withered claws. So it goes on...

Dickens Dictionary

Dickens Dictionary

Author: John Sutherland Format: eBook Release Date: 01/02/2012

For fans new and old, an enjoyable tour through the world of Dickens in the hands of a master critic. Charles Dickens, the 'Great Inimitable', created a riotous fictional world that still lives and breathes for thousands of readers today. But how much do we really know about the dazzling imagination that brought all this into being? For the bicentenary of Dickens' birth, Victorian literature expert John Sutherland has created a gloriously wide-ranging alphabetical companion to Dickens' work, excavating the hidden links between his characters, themes, and preoccupations, and the minutiae of his endlessly inventive wordplay. Covering America, Bastards, Childhood, Christmas, Empire, Fog, Larks, London, Madness, Murder, Orphans, Pubs, Punishment, Smells, Spontaneous Combustion and Zoo to name but a few - John Sutherland gives us a uniquely personal guide to the great man's work. Excerpt: HANDS; Every Dickens novel has a master image. In Our Mutual Friend it is the river. In Bleak House it is the fog. In Little Dorrit, it is the prison. In Great Expectations it is the hand. We often know much more about the principals' hands in that novel than their faces. Who, when the name Magwitch is mentioned, does not think of those murderous 'large brown veinous hands'? Jaggers? One's nose twitches---scented soap (the lawyer, like Pontius Pilate, is forever washing his hands). Miss Havisham? Withered claws. So it goes on...

Bestsellers Popular Fiction of the 1970s

Bestsellers Popular Fiction of the 1970s

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

First published in 1981, this book offers a study of British and American popular fiction in the 1970s, a decade in which the quest for the superseller came to dominate the lives of publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. Illustrated by examples of the lurid incidents that catapult so many books into the bestseller charts, this comprehensive study covers the work of Robbins, Hailey and Maclean, the 'bodice rippers', the disaster craze, horror, war stories and media tie-ins such as The Godfather, Jaws and Star Wars.

Love, Sex, Death and Words Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature

Love, Sex, Death and Words Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature

Author: John Sutherland, Stephen Fender Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2011

Love, sex, death, boredom, ecstasy, existential angst, political upheaval - the history of literature offers a rich and varied exploration of the human condition across the centuries. In this absorbing companion to literature's rich past, arranged by days of the year, acclaimed critics and friends Stephen Fender and John Sutherland turn up the most inspiring, enlightening, surprising or curious artefacts that literature has to offer. Find out why 16 June 1904 mattered so much to Joyce, which great literary love affair was brought to a tragic end on 11 February 1963 and why Roy Campbell punched Stephen Spender on the nose on 14 April 1949 in this sumptuous voyage through the highs and lows of literature's bejewelled past.

50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know

50 Literature Ideas You Really Need to Know

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2011

Literature suffers from appearing both deceptively easy and dauntingly difficult. We all like to think we can read a novel and understand what 'genre', 'style' and 'narrative' mean, but do we really understand them fully and how they can enrich our reading experience? How should we approach the works of great writers such as William Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen? And what can we hope to learn from apparently difficult ideas such as 'hermeneutics', 'affective fallacy' and 'bricolage'? 50 Literature Ideas you Really Need to Know is the essential guide to all the important forms, concepts, themes and movements in literature. It provides a clear, opinionated and thorough overview of theories about the nature of language and meaning, and outlines the thinking behind key literary concepts such as postmodernism, semiology, postcolonialism and structuralism. Best-selling author and critic John Sutherland offers a fresh and challenging overview of literary ideas and theories, from the apparently familiar to the decidedly unfamiliar. Packed with insights and examples from both classic and popular works, it is a book that will delight anyone who has ever been mystified by literary jargon and wants to gain a deeper, more thorough enjoyment of reading and writing.

World War II

World War II

Author: John Sutherland, Diane Sutherland, Paul Cornish Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/10/2010

From the declaration of war by Britain and France on September 3rd 1939 to the horrific atomic conclusion of the war against Japan in August 1945, the Second World War drew every country into its grasp. This powerful, information-rich and accessible reference book is organized by year and works, week-by-week, through the battles and the lives and deaths of leaders and ordinary people who suffered and strived through the chaos and the action. Also highlighted are the causes and legacy of this most incredible period of our history.

Love, Sex, Death and Words Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature

Love, Sex, Death and Words Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature

Author: John Sutherland, Stephen Fender Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2010

Love, sex, death, boredom, ecstasy, existential angst, political upheaval - the history of literature offers a rich and varied exploration of the human condition across the centuries. In this absorbing companion to literature's rich past, arranged by days of the year, acclaimed critics and friends Stephen Fender and John Sutherland turn up the most inspiring, enlightening, surprising or curious artefacts that literature has to offer. Find out why 16 June 1904 mattered so much to Joyce, which great literary love affair was brought to a tragic end on 11 February 1963 and why Roy Campbell punched Stephen Spender on the nose on 14 April 1949 in this sumptuous voyage through the highs and lows of literature's bejewelled past.

Bestsellers Popular Fiction of the 1970s

Bestsellers Popular Fiction of the 1970s

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/09/2010

First published in 1981, this book offers a study of British and American popular fiction in the 1970s, a decade in which the quest for the superseller came to dominate the lives of publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. Illustrated by examples of the lurid incidents that catapult so many books into the bestseller charts, this comprehensive study covers the work of Robbins, Hailey and Maclean, the 'bodice rippers', the disaster craze, horror, war stories and media tie-ins such as The Godfather, Jaws and Star Wars.

Information for the Earl of Sutherland, Against the Earl of Crawfurd

Information for the Earl of Sutherland, Against the Earl of Crawfurd

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/05/2010

Curiosities of Literature A Book-lover's Anthology of Literary Erudition

Curiosities of Literature A Book-lover's Anthology of Literary Erudition

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2009

How much heavier was Thackeray's brain than Walt Whitman's? Which novels do American soldiers read? When did cigarettes start making an appearance in English literature? And, while we're about it, who wrote the first Western, is there any link between asthma and literary genius, and what really happened on Dorothea's wedding night in Middlemarch? In Curiosities of Literature, John Sutherland contemplates the full import of questions such as these, and attempts a few answers in a series of essays that are both witty and eclectic. His approach is also unashamedly discursive. An account of the fast-working Mickey Spillane, for example, leads to a consideration of the substances, both legal and illegal, that authors have employed to boost their creative energies. An essay on good and bad handwriting points out in passing that Thackeray could write the Lord's Prayer on the back of a stamp. As for Mary Shelley, a brief recital of the circumstances in which she wrote Frankenstein stops off to consider what impact the miserable summer weather of 1816 had on the future path of English literature. Of course, it is debatable whether knowledge of these arcane topics adds to the wisdom of nations, but it does highlight the random pleasures to be found in reading literature and reading about it. As John Sutherland rightly asks, 'Why else read?'

So You Think You Know Jane Austen? A Literary Quizbook

So You Think You Know Jane Austen? A Literary Quizbook

Author: John Sutherland, Deirdre Le Faye Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/02/2009

How well do you really know your favourite author? Ace literary detective turned quizmaster John Sutherland and Austen buff Deirdre Le Faye challenge the reader to find out. Starting with easy, factual questions that test how well you remember a novel and its characters, the quiz progresses to a level of greater difficulty, demanding close reading and interpretative deduction. What really motivates the characters, and what is going on beneath the surface of the story? Designed to amuse and divert, the questions and answers take the reader on an imaginative journey into the world of Jane Austen, where hypothesis and speculation produce fascinating and unexpected insights. Whether you are an expert or enthusiast, So You Think You Know Jane Austen? guarantees you will know her much better after reading it. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction

The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/01/2009

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.

Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction

Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Sutherland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 25/10/2007

'I rejoice', said Doctor Johnson, 'to concur with the Common Reader.' For the last century, the tastes and preferences of the common reader have been reflected in the American and British bestseller lists, and this Very Short Introduction takes an engaging look through the lists to reveal what we have been reading - and why. John Sutherland shows that bestseller lists monitor one of the strongest pulses in modern literature and are therefore worthy of serious study. Along the way, he lifts the lid on the bestseller industry, examines what makes a book into a bestseller, and asks what separates bestsellers from canonical fiction. Exploring the relationship between bestsellers and the fashions, ideologies, and cultural concerns of the day, the book includes short case-studies and lively summaries of bestsellers through the years: from In His Steps - now almost totally forgotten, but the biggest all-time bestseller between 1895 and 1945, to Gone with the Wind and The Andromeda Strain, and The Da Vinci Code. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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