The novel is no longer the king of the narrative arts, says the writer and academic Robert Eaglestone. Yet literature has never been more interesting. Here he discusses five excellent novels that exemplify current trends in contemporary fiction.
Comics of all kinds are flourishing with publishers rushing to meet market demand. But which of the many comics published this year are really worth having on your bookshelf? We turned to comics expert and Harvard professor Hillary Chute to select the best comics of 2016.
He was the most popular novelist of the Victorian era, a convivial family man who always championed the underdog. But he also harboured dark secrets that only came out after his death. Jenny Hartley recommends the best books by and about the phenomenon that was and is Charles Dickens.
Often described as the ‘father of science fiction’, H G Wells was a man of extraordinary charisma and vivid imagination. Yet he suffered terribly from class anxiety and subscribed to political beliefs we now find abhorrent, says the editor and author Roger Luckhurst.
Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy has inspired countless thinkers and writers since it was first published almost 700 years ago. Here, Dante scholar and author Nick Havely picks the best five books on how one medieval poet had such a lasting impact on world literature, and how Dante’s vitality transmits into modern culture.
In our Shakespeare series, we ask experts to select their favourite plays from the Bard’s oeuvre. Here, preeminent Shakespearean scholar Sir Stanley Wells chooses five plays that best chart the evolution of the Bard of Avon during his 25-year career.
Is it possible to describe or study our inner experience, and – if so – how might one go about it? Charles Fernyhough, professor of psychology and author of The Voices Within chooses five of the best books that employ or examine streams of consciousness.
William Wordsworth: The Major Works
by Stephen Gill (editor)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Major Works
by H. J. Jackson (Editor)
Willam Blake: Selected Poetry
by Michael Mason (Editor)
Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Major Works
by Michael O'Neill (Editor) & Zachary Leader (Editor)
John Keats: The Major Works
by Elizabeth Cook (Editor)
Journalists are no longer able to properly investigate organised crime in modern Italy — leaving it to crime fiction writers to pick up the slack, says the acclaimed Italian novelist, Massimo Carlotto. Here he chooses five noir novels that explore the reality of Italian corruption in highly original ways.
What will the next global conflict look like? Two of America’s leading defence experts, P W Singer and August Cole, turned to science fiction to explore the prospect of a future war, and how existing technology might be used in one. Here, they choose five novels depicting a fictional World War Three that served as inspiration.
Wilkie Collins, the sensationalist author and inventor of the detective novel, knew precisely how to “make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait”. Jason Hall, Victorian literature expert and editor of a new edition of Jezebel’s Daughter, chooses the five best books from Collins’s extensive oeuvre – and considers the voracious appetites and unorthodox lifestyle of this intriguing Englishman.
Teachers play an important role in our educational and emotional development. But we have a complex relationship with them: one marked by firm boundaries and an unequal power dynamic. Here, novelist and former schoolmaster David Hargreaves discusses five classic works of fiction that portray teachers walking this line with varying degrees of success.
Aristotle tells us that all politics starts in the family, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the infamously fraught relationship between mother and daughter. Here, the novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy chooses five books – or rather, four books and one film – that explore motherhood.
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 56 short stories and four novels starring his fictional sleuth. So where to start? Michael Dirda – Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, writer and lifelong Sherlockian – gives us his personal choice of the best, and tells us more about their creator.
The distinguished Austen scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks tells us about the joy of rereading Austen and the hidden layers of complexity that emerge from the writing when one does so. She chooses the best books by or about Jane Austen.
The biographer explores the decadence of the young and rich in 1920s London, and tells us about Evelyn Waugh’s rebellious youth, bullying disposition and later breakdown – as well as just how much (and early) he drank