But the novel was more than just a reflection of British life. As Sebastian Faulks explains in this engaging literary and social history, it also helped invent the British. By focusing not on writers but on the people they gave us, Faulks not only celebrates the recently neglected act of novelistic creation but shows how the most enduring fictional characters over the centuries have helped map the British psyche. In this ebook, Sebastian celebrates the greatest snobs in fiction - from Emma Woodhouse to James Bond.
Also included are three classic novels:
Emma by Jane Austen: Emma is rich, independent and preoccupied with arranging suitors for her acquaintances. Her plans for the matrimonial success of a new friend, however, lead her into complications that ultimately test her own detachment from the world of romance.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Pip's life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events lead him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder.
The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith: Mr Charles Pooter is a respectable man, unfortunately, nobody seems to recognise his gentility. George and Weedon Grossmith's comic novel, perfectly illustrated, is a glorious, affectionate caricature of the English middle-class at the end of nineteenth century.
The Vintage Classics Austen series is designed by the writer and illustrator Leanne Shapton and introduced by some of our finest contemporary writers and Austen fans: Alexander McCall Smith, Lynne Truss, Amanda Vickery, Francesca Segal, P.D. James and Andrew Motion.
'It is a sort of private novel. In the heroine Anne Elliot, we have glimpses of Austen and what happened to her; the lost romance and the lost youth' Julian Fellowes
Eight years ago Anne Elliot bowed to pressure from her family and made the decision not to marry the man she loved, Captain Wentworth. Now circumstances have conspired to bring him back into her social circle and Anne finds her old feelings for him reignited. However, when they meet again Wentworth behaves as if they are strangers and seems more interested in her friend Louisa. In this, her final novel, Jane Austen tells the story of a love that endures the tests of time and society with humour, insight and tenderness.