A Little History of Literature (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

A Little History of Literature is a delightful compendium of literary history encompassing numerous perspectives and themes. Literary works from the “classics” to “crud” are referenced by authors, publishers, world influencers, and critics using multiple genres, narratives, and styles. Enjoy this collection as a full course meal or randomly savor the 40 individual chapters in wee bites. (Alice)


This 'little history' takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, fromTheEpic of GilgameshtoHarry 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 toThe 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.

About the Author

John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology. He has published and edited numerous books, and is the author of "How to Read a Novel". He writes a weekly column for "The Guardian, " and also writes for "The New York Times Book Review" and "London"" Review of Books." He was the committee chairman for the 2005 Man Booker Prize.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780300186857
ISBN-10: 0300186851
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Pages: 275
Language: English