Sebastian Faulks reads his favourite poem, Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright by Sean O'Brien and talks to Jolyon Connell, founder of Connell Guides
The publication of Robinson Crusoe in London in 1719 marked the arrival of a revolutionary art form: the novel. British writers were prominent in shaping the new type of storytelling - one which reflected the experiences of ordinary people, with characters in whom readers could find not only an escape, but a deeper understanding of their own lives.
But the novel was more than just a reflection of British life. As Sebastian Faulks explains in this engaging literary and social history, it also helped invent the British. By focusing not on writers but on the people they gave us, Faulks not only celebrates the recently neglected act of novelistic creation but shows how the most enduring fictional characters over the centuries have helped map the British psyche - through heroes from Tom Jones to Sherlock Holmes, lovers from Mr Darcy to Lady Chatterley, villains from Fagin to Barbara Covett and snobs from Emma Woodhouse to James Bond.
Accompanying a major BBC series, Faulks on Fiction is a compelling and personal take on the story of how the dazzling creations of novelists helped shape the world we live in.
Characters included in the book:
Heroes - Robinson Crusoe, Tom Jones, Becky Sharp, Sherlock Holmes, Winston Smith (1984), Jim Dixon (Lucky Jim), John Self (Money)
Lovers - Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Lady Chatterley, Maurice Bendrix (End of the Affair), Anna Wulf (The Golden Notebook), Nick Guest (The Line of Beauty)
Snobs - Emma Woodhouse, Pip (Great Expectations), Charles Pooter (Diary of a Nobody), Jeeves, Jean Brodie, James Bond, Chanu (Brick Lane)
Villains - Richard Lovelace (Clarissa), Fagin, Count Fosco (The Woman in White), Steerpike (Gormenghast Trilogy), Ronald Merrick (The Raj Quartet), Jack Merridew (Lord of the Flies), Barbara Covett (Notes on a Scandal)
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