A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland

Part of the ‘Little History’ series (http://www.littlehistory.org/)¬†from Yale University Press this book¬†takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, from¬†The¬†Epic of Gilgamesh¬†to¬†Harry Potter.

John Sutherland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sutherland_(author))¬†is perfectly suited to the task. He has researched, taught, and written on virtually every area of literature, and his infectious passion for books and reading has defined his own life. Now he guides young readers and the grown-ups in their lives on an entertaining journey ‘through the wardrobe’ to a greater awareness of how literature from across the world can transport us and help us to make sense of what it means to be human.

Sutherland introduces great classics in his own irresistible way, enlivening his offerings with humor as well as learning:¬†Beowulf, Shakespeare,¬†Don Quixote, the Romantics, Dickens,¬†Moby Dick,¬†The Waste Land, Woolf,¬†1984, and dozens of others. He adds to these a less-expected, personal selection of authors and works, including literature usually considered well below ‘serious attention’ – from the rude jests of Anglo-Saxon runes to¬†The Da Vinci Code. With masterful digressions into various themes – censorship, narrative tricks, self-publishing, taste, creativity, and madness – Sutherland demonstrates the full depth and intrigue of reading. For younger readers, he offers a proper introduction to literature, promising to interest as much as instruct. For more experienced readers, he promises just the same. Get this book and have it as your enchiridion to a whole world of pleasure and mental stimulation.

288 pages in Yale University Press paperback edition

ISBN 978-0300186857

John Sutherland

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