823. Books on English fiction
Martin Amis Experience: A Memoir, 2001.
English novelist, essayist, and short story writer Martin Amis writes of his life with his father, the comic novelist Kingsley Amis. In addition, he discusses his contemporary literary scene, drawing portraits of well-known authors like Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie, and Robert Graves.
Roald Dahl Boy, 1984.
Roald Dahl, the beloved author of children’s books like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, provides stories of his childhood experiences in England. In some ways, his childhood set the stage for the unusual and imaginative stories he later tells.
Eleanor Fitzsimons The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit: Victorian Iconoclast, Children’s Author, and Creator of the Railway Children, 2019.
Edith Nesbit (E.Nesbit) is considered the inventor of children’s adventure stories. Eleanor Fitzsimons presents her as a socialite who also lectured and wrote on socialism. She then used those ideas in her works for children.
Hermione Lee Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, 2013.
English literature scholar Hermione Lee writes about the great English novelist Penelope Fitzgerald, writer of Offshore and The Blue Flower. While Fitzgerald’s life spanned most of the 20th century, she was 60 before publishing her first work and 80 before she became famous. Lee reveals an artist whose life was as fascinating as her works.
Hisham Matar The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, 2016.
Novelist Hisham Matar’s memoir recounts the story of his father, Jaballa Matar, a Libyan political dissident who spoke out against the Qaddafi regime. When Hisham was still a student, living in exile with his family in Cairo, his father was kidnapped and thought to be held in a notorious prison in Libya. Here, he documents his first visit to Libya in thirty years to search for his father.
Maggie O’Farrell I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, 2017.
British novelist Maggie O’Farrell wrote this memoir for her daughter, which provides seventeen distinct snapshots from her life. From a severe childhood illness to an encounter with a disturbed man, each experience involves a close encounter with death.
Nicholas Shakespeare Bruce Chatwin: A Biography, 1993.
Award-winning novelist Nicholas Shakespeare traces the story of Bruce Chatwin, a man revered for his travel writing, most notably In Patagonia. Shakespeare uncovers the man behind the self-cultivated myth in a way that is honest and respectful.
Martin Stannard Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years, 1903-1939, 1987.
English literature scholar Martin Stannard provides this look at the youth of satirical novelist Evelyn Waugh. The man he uncovers will surprise many of Waugh’s readers.
Robert Louis Stevenson Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, 1879.
Scholars largely ignored Scottish poet, travel writer, and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson in the 20th century. They often dismissed him as a popular writer of little import. But in recent decades, his work has been re-examined and is now considered an essential cultural artifact. This book, which is in the public domain, is available online for free.
Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own, 1929.
Novelist Virginia Woolf’s extended essay discusses women in fiction, based on her lectures at Newnham College and Girton College in 1928. She argues that women need space to write their best work in a patriarchal world, literally and figuratively. It is a classic feminist work.
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