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John Sutherland

From Academic Kids

John Sutherland is an English lecturer, emeritus professor, newspaper columnist and author.

Career

Now Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, UCL, John Sutherland began his academic career as an assistant lecturer in Edinburgh in 1964. He specialises in Victorian fiction, 20th century literature, and the history of publishing.

Apart from writing a regular column in the Guardian newspaper, Sutherland has published seventeen (as of 2004) books and (as of 2005) is editing the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction. The series of books which starts with Was Heathcliff a murderer? has brought him a wide readership. The books in the series are collections of essays. Each essay takes a piece of classic fiction, almost always from the Victorian period. Carefully going over every word of the text, Sutherland highlights apparent inconsistencies, anachronisms and oversights, and explains references which the modern reader is likely to overlook. In some cases he demonstrates the likelihood that the author simply forgot a minor detail. In others, apparent slips on the part of the author are presented as evidence that something is going on beyond the surface of the book which is not explicitly described (such as his explanation for why Sherlock Holmes should mis-address Miss Stoner as Miss Roylott in The Adventure of the Speckled Band).

Partial bibliography

  • Is Heathcliff a murderer? Puzzles in nineteenth-century fiction, ISBN 0-19-282516-X 1996, OUP
  • Can Janes Eyre be happy? More puzzles in classic fiction, ISBN 0-19-283309-X, 1997, OUP
  • Who betrays Elizabeth Bennet? Further puzzles in classic fiction 1999, OUP
  • (With Cedric Watts) Henry V, war criminal? & other Shakespeare puzzles, ISBN 0-19-283879-2, 2000 OUP

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