A much-loved author brings the world of literature alive for all ages 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..
Ever since children have learned to read, there has been children’s literature. Children’s Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesop’s fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter.The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of children’s literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatr..
Have you ever wished you could tell your favourite books just what they mean to you? Or wanted to give a piece of your mind to the ‘must-read’ book that you wish you hadn’t?Librarian Annie Spence has done just that, writing letters to the books under her care, from love letters to Matilda and The Goldfinch, to snarky break-up notes to Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hobbit. Annie’s letters will make you laugh, remind you why you love your favourite books, and give you lots of new entries for your r..
Adapted from a series of four lectures, originally delivered as the first of the Granada Northern Lectures Peter Brook's The Empty Space is an exploration of four aspects of theatre, 'Deadly, Holy, Rough and Immediate', published in Penguin Modern Classics.
'I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage'
In The Empty Space, groundbreaking director Peter Brook draws on a life in love with the stage to explore the issues facing any theatrical performance. Here he describes important develo..
A literary master's entertaining guide to reading with deeper insight, better understanding, and greater pleasure'Part of the fun of the book is the way in which Eagleton prompts, provokes and at times infuriates. . . . An ideal introductory guide to critical analysis, and a thoroughly enjoyable reminder of Eagleton's own skill and subtlety as a reader.'-Felicity James, Times Higher Education Supplement'This book is seriously good fun. . . . It fizzles and explodes with ideas. You don't have to ..
A best-selling author and world-renowned bibliophile meditates on his vast personal library and champions the vital role of all libraries. In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France's Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000-volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships..
A vivid exploration of the evolution of reading as an essential social and domestic activity during the eighteenth century Two centuries before the advent of radio, television, and motion pictures, books were a cherished form of popular entertainment and an integral component of domestic social life. In this fascinating and vivid history, Abigail Williams explores the ways in which shared reading shaped the lives and literary culture of the time, offering new perspectives on how books have been ..
'Wonderfully entertaining, hilarious. Contains the distilled wisdom of some of the greatest writers who ever lived' Allison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph
What should I do with my life?
What if my love is not returned?
Why do bad things happen?
The answers to some of life's biggest questions are found not in trite self-help manuals but in the tough-love lessons explored in Russian literature. Here, Viv Groskop delves into the novels of history's deepest thinkers to discover enduring truths ab..
Paris, near the turn of 1932-3. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking...
"It's not often that you miss your bus stop because you're so engrossed in reading a book about existentialism, but I did exactly that...The story of Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger et al is strange, fun and compelling reading. If it..
The story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners.
"A most valuable book." —Christian Science Monitor
For readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners.
While the Nazi party was being ..
The list of books suppressed in the English language features the sacred and profane, poetic and pornographic, famous and infamous. A history of literary censorship is therefore a history not only of texts but of the authorities that have attempted to prevent their circulation: sovereigns, politicians, judges, prison officers, slaveholders, school governors, librarians, teachers, parents, students, editors and publishers. Censored deals with some of the most contentious and fascinating cases, in..
What makes Greek and Roman literature great?
How has classical literature influenced Western culture?
What did Greek and Roman authors learn from each other?
Any list of the six greatest European poets would include Virgil, Aeschylus and Homer. A recent history of philosophy named Aristotle and Plato as two of the world's four greatest philosophers. The greatest historian of all is likely to be Thucydides. Why was Ancient Greek and Roman literature so great?
Sweeping across a thousand yea..
“In art and words, a book lover honors the characters he can’t forget.”―New York Times Book Review
An original look at how literary characters can transcend their books to guide our lives, by one of the world's most eminent bibliophiles
Alberto Manguel, in a style both charming and erudite, examines how literary characters live with us from childhood on. Throughout the years, they change their identities and emerge from behind their stories to teach us about the complexities of love, loss, and..
A major new examination of how J.R.R.Tolkien came to write his original masterpiece ‘The Hobbit’, including his complete unpublished draft version of the story, and many little-known illustrations and previously unpublished maps by Tolkien himself. The History of the Hobbit presents for the first time, in two volumes, the complete unpublished text of the original manuscript of J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit, accompanied by John Rateliff's lively and informative account of how the book came to be wri..
Horror: A Literary History is the book horror readers and students need. It will hold you in its grip, leaving you replete with invaluable information about the range, longevity and mutations of the horror genre as it consistently forces you to engage with serious cultural and personal issues.
Horror is unlike any other literary genre. It seeks to provoke uniquely strong reactions, such as fear, shock, dread or disgust, and yet remains very popular. It also crosses media, manifesting in narrati..
What are Kafka's stories about? Are they dreams? Allegories? Symbols? Things that happen every day? But where and when?
In this remarkable book, Roberto Calasso sets out not to dispel the mystery but to let it be illuminated by its own light. With his unique vision, imagination, and intellectual acumen, Calasso attempts to enter the flow, the tortuous movement, the physiology of the stories to discover what they are meant to signify and to delve into the most basic question: Who is K.?
In Xanadu did Kublai Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree. Kublai Khan lives on in the popular imagination thanks to these two lines of poetry by Coleridge. But the true story behind this legend is even more fantastic than the poem would have us believe. He inherited the second largest land empire in history from his grandfather, Genghis Khan. He promptly set about extending this into the biggest empire the world has ever seen, extending his rule from China to Iraq, from Siberia to Afghanistan. ..
'Anybody who loves the printed word will be bowled over by this amusing, erudite, beautiful book about books. It is in every way a triumph. One of the loveliest books to have been published for many, many years.' Alexander McCall Smith
'An utterly joyous journey into the deepest eccentricities of the human mind… The most cheering, fascinating book I’ve read for ages.' Guardian
'Brooke-Hitching’s prose is elegant and witty [and] the images...make the book a real joy.' Spectator
From the author o..
Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2019
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020
'Fascinating . . . If you have even the slightest interest in Orwell or in the development of our culture, you should not miss this engrossing, enlightening book.' John Carey, Sunday Times
George Orwell's 1984 has become a defining narrative of the modern world. Its cultural influence can be observed in some of the most notable creations of the past seventy years, from Marga..
Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals: a leader of genius, driven by an inspiring vision for peaceful world rule. Believing he was divinely protected, Genghis united warring clans to create a nation and then an empire that ran across much of Asia. Under his grandson, Kublai Khan, the vision evolved into a more complex religious ideology, justifying further expansion.
Kublai doubled the empire's size until, in the late 13th century, he and the rest of Genghis' 'Golden Family' controlled o..
What happens within us when we read a novel? And how does a novel create its unique effects, so distinct from those of a painting, a film, or a poem? In this inspired, thoughtful, deeply personal book, Orhan Pamuk takes us into the worlds of the writer and the reader, revealing their intimate connections.Pamuk draws on Friedrich Schiller's famous distinction between "naive" poets-who write spontaneously, serenely, unselfconsciously-and "sentimental" poets: those who are reflective, emotional, qu..
Featuring several mass-murdering authors, two fraternal writers at the head of a football-hooligan ring and a poet who crafts his lines in the air with sky writing, Nazi Literature in the Americas details the lives of a rich cast of characters from one of the most extraordinarily fecund imaginations in world literature. Written with acerbic wit and virtuosic flair, this encyclopaedic cavalcade of fictional pan-American authors is the terrifyingly humorous and remarkably inventive masterpiece whi..
Tolkien's One Ring, at the centre of one of the greatest fantasy tales ever told, is an undeniably iconic and powerful symbol in literature.
Tracing centuries of ancient folklore, The Ring Legends of Tolkien is a deep and highly informed investigation into the inspiration behind Tolkien's epic fantasy world, exploring the origins of the One Ring, as well as the extraordinary myths and legends that inspired Tolkien's works.
This work is unofficial and is not authorized by the Tolkien Estate or..
A breezy, accessible re-introduction to the greatest writer of plays, who turns out to be responsible for EastEnders, Coronation Street and Friends. Repackaged in a new cover edition.
Who's afraid of William Shakespeare? Just about everyone. He wrote too much and what he did write is inaccessible and elitist. Right? Wrong. Shakespeare on Toast knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling and uplifting dra..
A THE TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
'The best introduction to the plays I've read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop' Alex Preston, Observer
'It makes you impatient to see or re-read the plays at once' Hilary Mantel
A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no others. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality and literary mastery. Who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else.
Is this Shakespeare..
Robin Lane Fox's Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer proposes a new way of thinking about ancient Greeks, showing how real-life journeys shaped their mythical tales. The tales of the ancient Greeks have inspired us for thousands of years. But where did they originate?
Esteemed classicist Robin Lane Fox draws on a lifetime's knowledge of the ancient world, and on his own travels, to open up the age of Homer. His acclaimed history explores how the intrepid seafare..
From clay tablets to the printing press. From the pencil to the internet. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter. This is the true story of literature -- of how great texts and technologies have shaped cultures and civilizations and altered human history. The inventions of paper, the printing press and the world wide web are usually considered the major influences on the way we share stories. Less well known is the influence of Greek generals, Japanese court ladies, Spanish adventurers, Mali..
Join Mike Ashley on a characterful tour of the most ingenious and often forgotten books from the rich history of classic British science fiction.
From the enrapturing tales of H. G. Wells to the punishing dystopian visions of 1984 and beyond, the evolution of science fiction from the 1890s to the 1960s is a fascinating journey into the hopes and fears of those years. Establishing this period as what we can now appreciate as the 'classic' age of the genre, which for most of this time had no name..