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Heresies and Heretics: Memories of the Twentieth Century [Paperback]

George Watson

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Book Description

1 Mar 2013
In his enjoyably iconoclastic book, George Watson discusses some of the great cultural heresies of the twentieth century and the heretics who espoused them, often with surprising results. He provides us with examples of 'true' original heretics from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who asserted that his study of the remote past had made a radical of him rather than any influence of modernism, to Douglas Adams, whom Watson knew as an undergraduate. Watson forces us to question various long-cherished political and intellectual assumptions in witty and conversational style. Is snobbery really such a bad thing? Have we ignored the links between socialism and genocide? He touches entertainingly upon subjects as diverse as literary theory (experimental fiction is often the last resort of those who have nothing to say), and the unoriginal conformism of teenage Marxists incapable of actually reading Marx because he is too boring. This is a work that will delight any reader seeking a uniquely personal perspective on the culture, history and personalities of the twentieth century. George Watson is a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, author of 'The Literary Critics' and general editor of the 'New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature'. He is author of 'The Lost Literature of Socialism' (1998, 2nd edition 2010); 'Never Ones For Theory? England and the War of Ideas' (2001); 'Take Back the Past: Myths of the Twentieth Century' (2007); and 'The Story of the Novel' (2008).

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Review

It is vintage George Watson, challenging, intransigent, witty, drawing on an immensely wide range of reading and taking treasured assumptions apart with breezy charm. His memories of friends - some of them known to me - are both poignant and trenchant. Altogether a delight. --John Carey, emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford

About the Author

George Watson is Fellow in English at St. John's College, Cambridge. He has published a number of books on literature and political thought, including 'The Literary Critics', its sequel, 'Never Ones for Theory?', 'The English Ideology', 'Lost Literature of Socialism' and 'Take Back the Past', also published by The Lutterworth Press. He has been Sandars Reader in Bibliography, and is editor of the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature.

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