- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; Reprint edition (2 Jun. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848312474
- ISBN-13: 978-1848312470
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Love, Sex, Death and Words: Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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'This book (co-authored with an old pal, Stephen Fender; Sutherland excels in the Victoriana, while Fender is the Americanist) should bring delight to many, sell tons and keep as many ex-wives as any of us could wish for in scones and jam... It's a smart idea, well executed. Its prime virtue is the dense agglomeration of trivia around even well-known events.' -- Sam Leith, Spectator 'I've had tremendous fun reading [the entries] - arguing with some, substituting others, quoting them over lunch - and pleasure is at the heart of this project. It's irresistible, as compulsive as eating popcorn. Hawthorne and Melville meet for the first time, Petrarch catches first sight of Laura, Picasso, Joyce, Stravinsky and Diaghilev and Proust dine together at the Majestic, Anthony Burgess (like Scott and Whitman before him) gives a glowing review to his own book, Defoe invents the novel, but doesn't know what to call it, Bertolt Brecht testifies before HUAC, Jeffrey Archer 'goes down'.' -- Guardian "Love Sex Death Words: Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature' - the title itself is irresistible - by John Sutherland and Stephen Fender (Icon Books), is an enjoyable and entirely arbitrary romp through a leap year of anecdotes, from January 1st and the vexed history of the copyright of Peter Pan to the December 31st publication of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road, with stops along the way to visit Nietzsche at his typing lessons and Alexander Pope at his doctor's. Good, clean, harmless fun.' -- John Banville, Irish Times 'Bibliophiles are recommended to test the learned waters of 'Love, Sex, Death and Words' (Icon, GBP20) by John Sutherland and Stephen Fender, which takes us on an urbane, day-by-day amble through the year, recounting events of literary import. Here you will find an abundance of mortarboard humour and recondite jewels: the truth behind Thomas Carlyle's wedding night, for instance.' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Doesn't the Trades Descriptions Act cover book titles? How can 'Love, Sex, Death & Words' be justified for a volume of literary dates, all based on the solitary act of an author sitting down quietly with a quill, pencil, typewriter or keyboard? In fact, not only the fourth noun but also the first three are mots justes for the entrancing events detailed here.' -- Independent 'A huge anthology of essays about writers and books, 365 in fact, one for every day of the year, although few readers will be unable to resist reading on through several articles every time they pick up the book.' -- Common Reader
About the Author
John Sutherland was the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at UCL and a past Chairman of the Booker Prize panel, and is the author of one of the standard texts on Victorian fiction. Stephen Fender has taught Literature in the US, in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh, and in England at London and Sussex, where he was head of American Studies from 1985 to 2003.
Top Customer Reviews
The book opens on January the 1st with a piece on the unusual copyright history of Peter Pan, other days treat of poets, publishers, shipwrecks, book-burning, modernists, censorship, kings, martyrs, wizards, and much much more. A brief look at the contents page will reveal the great wealth and richness of this book.
Sutherland and Fender write very well, succinctly and clearly elucidating their chosen topic however large or small. I learnt some completely new things, for example Stephen Crane's shipwreck or the bombing of Paternoster Row. The authors, however, also helped me crystallize my thoughts when it came to subjects I was somewhat familiar with, such as deconstructionism or the French poet Villon. Finally the book is a great starting point for further explorations, and I found myself going through underlining interesting-sounding works from known and unknown authors mentioned in the essays.
The short nature of the pieces mean that one can be educated and entertained in the smallest of spare moments, although I often found myself thinking 'Just one more...'.
There is a comprehensive index at the back of the book, which runs from Peter Abelard to Emile Zola and its fascinating to flick through it and look up references to favourite writers. This is a nice book to have on your shelf - a big thick wedge of over 500 pages.
The book was granted a lengthy review in The Guardian by Rick Gekoski who said, "I've had tremendous fun reading them - arguing with some, substituting others, quoting them over lunch - and pleasure is at the heart of this project. Its irresistible, as compulsive as eating popcorn".
I can't help thinking that Love, Sex, Death and Words would make a much appreciated Christmas present for any avid reader.
It will make a perfect Christmas present, or rather "yeres yifte" for the whole of the coming year, to give to someone you esteem highly who really cares about what they read.
Each day's substantial entry has an amusing, witty, self-contained mini-essay on a literary fact relating to that date. It is all verifiable, however unlikely.
I'm a lifelong bookworm, many of whose waking hours over half a century have been spent either reading or thinking about literature, but much of the content of this book was brand new to me, mostly Professor Fender's half dealing with things American: I am a bit eurocentric.
I'm giving the book 4 stars because I see that amazon includes kindle reviews with other reviews and it wouldn't be fair to detract from the authors, as it does appear to be an excellent book if in print form. It's too cumbersome for me to read it the way I normally would on the kindle. I suppose I can just start at the beginniing and read sequentially but that isn't how I would have to approach it in print form.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm enjoying this hugely.
A book to dip into as there is an entry for every day of the year.
Some gems of literary history, scandal and amusement to be found.
Wasn't at all what I was expecting, was a deal of the day, so not something I would usually buy. And I should not have on this occasion. Learnt the lesson!Published on 10 Jan. 2014 by MrsS
This is one of those books consisting of a short article on a literary anniversary for every day of the year; I have been reading each day's entry for about the last four months. Read morePublished on 20 Sept. 2012 by John Hopper
This is the ideal book if you are on a long journey, as you can read a chapter at a time, and have no need to remember the previous plot! Read morePublished on 30 July 2012 by R. Moore
This was a real surprise of a book. Despite its academic knowledge and frequently critical approach, this is light, entertaining and fascinating as well as thought provoking. Read morePublished on 18 July 2012 by Gruffalo
Have only just started dipping into this book, and, since I like collecting factual snippets, am enjoying it immensely. Read morePublished on 14 May 2012 by Annie W