On the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s perennially popular and influential gothic tale, literary detective John Sutherland turns his expert eye on Frankenstein and unearths a trove of tantalising facts and arcane puzzles.
Among the topics to come under the microscope are: Does the monster have a penis? Is he a monster or a baby – or both? And, most important of all: who is the best on-screen Frankenmonster?
Some stories couldn't happen just anywhere. As is the case with all great literature, the setting, scenery, and landscape are as central to the tale as any character, and just as easily recognized. LITERARY LANDSCAPES brings together more than 50 literary worlds and examines how their description is intrinsic to the stories that unfold within their borders.
Follow Leopold Bloom's footsteps around Dublin. Hear the music of the Mississippi River steamboats that set the score for Huckleberry Finn. Experience the rugged bleakness of New Foundland in Annie Proulx's The Shipping News or the soft Neapolitan breezes in My Brilliant Friend.
The landscapes of enduring fictional characters and literary legends are vividly brought to life, evoking all the sights and sounds of the original works. LITERARY LANDSCAPES will transport you to the fictions greatest lands and allow you to connect to the story and the author's intent in a whole new way.
His taste is impressively eclectic. An appreciation of Apuleius’s The Golden Ass – arguably the first-ever novel – is followed by a consideration of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger. The Handmaid’s Tale is followed by Hangover Square, Jane Eyre by Jaws. There are imposing Victorian novels, entertaining contemporary thrillers and everything in between, from dystopian works to romance.
The flavour of each is brilliantly evoked and its relative merits or demerits assessed. At the same time, John Sutherland shows how the work fits into a broader context – whether that of the author’s life or of other books from the same genre or period. And he offers endless snippets of intriguing information: did you know, for example, that the Nazis banned Bambi or that William Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying on an upturned wheelbarrow; that Voltaire completed Candide in three days, or that Anna Sewell was paid £20 for Black Beauty?
Encyclopedic and entertaining by turns, this is a wonderful dip-in book, whose opinions will inform and on occasion, no doubt, infuriate. It is also effectively a history of the novel in 500 or so bite-sized pieces.
Stoker any money.
Since 1931’s film Nosferatu the Vampire, however, it has never been out of print and is legendary among fans of the dark, macabre and mysterious ...
Critic John Sutherland, a Dracula fan since childhood – and author of the literary puzzle classics Is Heathcliff a Murderer? and Can Jane Eyre be Happy? explores the enigmas and puzzles of this towering giant of gothic
novels, such as:
Who was Dracula’s father? Why does the Count come to England? Does the Count actually give Jonathan a ‘love bite’? Why does every country we know of have a vampire legend? And finally – how long is it before we’re all vampires?
The book also includes 'Dracula Digested' by John Crace, author of the Guardian's Digested Reads column.
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.