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The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books

by John Carey

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month

The Unexpected Professor An Oxford Life in Books Synopsis

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.

The Good Book Guide Review

Author, literary critic, and devoted beekeeper, John Carey looks back over half a century devoted to the study and appreciation of the written word. A product of the pre-war grammar schools, Carey won a scholarship to St John’s College, Oxford in 1950, embarking on a glittering academic career that saw him appointed English professor at Merton College, chairing the Booker Prize judging panel, and publishing a wealth of acclaimed literary criticism. This is a fascinating story of eighty years of family ties, social change, writing and scholarship, in which Carey kept company with some of the great literary figures of the last century: Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney and W H Auden.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780571310937
Publication date: 05/03/2015
Publisher: Faber & Faber Non-Fiction an imprint of Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571310937
Publication date: 5th March 2015
Author: John Carey
Publisher: Faber & Faber Non-Fiction an imprint of Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Autobiography: literary, Universities, Literary studies: general,

About John Carey

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 ...

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