A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Oxford University Press, USA, 9780199214891, 127pp.
Publication Date: December 3, 2007
List Price: 11.95*
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Lady Chatterley's Lover. The Blue Lagoon. Portnoy's Complaint. The Da Vinci Code. For the last century, the tastes and preferences of the common reader have been reflected in the American and British bestseller lists, and this Very Short Introduction takes an engaging look through the lists to reveal what we have been reading--and why. John Sutherland shows that bestseller lists monitor one of the strongest pulses in modern literature and are therefore worthy of serious study. Exploring the relationship between bestsellers and the fashions, ideologies, and cultural concerns of the day, the book includes short case-studies and lively summaries of bestsellers through the years: from In His Steps--now almost totally forgotten, but the biggest all-time bestseller between 1895 and 1945--to Gone with the Wind, The Andromeda Strain, and The Da Vinci Code. Discussing both classic and contemporary novels, alongside some surprising titles and long-forgotten names. Sutherland lifts the lid on the bestseller industry, revealing what makes a book into a bestseller and what separates bestsellers from canonical fiction.
About the Author
John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, and Professor of Literature at Caltech. The author of many books, he writes and reviews widely, including in the TLS and LRB, and writes regular columns in the Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, and Sunday Telegraph. In 2005, he was chair of the Man-Booker fiction prize committee.
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