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Literature

Editor's choice
By Lynn Forest-Hill

Did the story of a stolen Roman ring provide the basis for one of the 20th century’s most popular works of fiction? Mark Horton and Lynn Forest-Hill tell the story of the archaeological dig which  fuelled the fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The idea of writing about what we can never know – the interior lives of people other than ourselves – was born within the fertile hybrid culture of 12th-century England.

During the eighteenth century female authors became increasingly numerous and industrious; while as readers, writes Robert Halsband, thanks to the spread of the new circulating libraries, women began to form ‘a significant sector’ of the literary public.

Joanna Richardson describes the life and work of the French father of science fiction.

In his memoirs Chateaubriand denounces Napoleon. But, asks Douglas Hilt, is it not a figure of grandeur and vision that emerges?

For the 18-century tourist, there was a strange beauty in rugged industrial landscapes, which moved them to quote poetry and dash off pages of vivid descriptive prose.

I.F. Clarke offers a study of the “pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war” as foreseen by imaginative writers and artists.

When Irvin Ehrenpreis put the final full stop to his triple-decker biography of Jonathan Swift published between 1962 and 1983, one thing at least...

From Piketty’s trumpet-blast to the great deeds of medieval saints, ten leading historians tell us about their best reads from 2014.

Jerome de Groot rounds up recent releases.

The late 17th century saw the arrival of a new way of buying and selling books. Amy Bowles explores the impact of the book auction on those with a commercial and scholarly interest in the printed word.

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