The Cruise of the Rolling Junk by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In an early series of journalistic pieces for an American magazine, Motor, F. Scott Fitzgerald described a journey he took with his wife Zelda from Connecticut to Alabama in a clapped out automobile which he called the ‘Rolling Junk’. It is a piece of writing whose style, in free-ranging alternation of fact and fiction, has been compared to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat.
This book collects together the articles as one text, illustrated with the original photographs of Fitzgerald, Zelda and the ‘Junk’.
Poetic Lives: Donne by Nicholas Robins
Poet and preacher John Donne is foremost among the metaphysical poets. Born into a Catholic family, he faced considerable persecution until his conversion to the Anglican Church, into which he was ordained in 1615. His sermons are some of the best known in history, and whilst much of his work is imbued with an overriding religious theme, he also wrote love poetry, sonnets, satires and songs.
Nicholas Robins here presents an accomplished and concise biography of the life and career of Donne, charting his progress from an impoverished young writer to Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. Woven into his story are examples of Donne’s own writing which reveal the full richness of the poet.
Brief Lives: Virginia Woolf by Elizabeth Wright
Elizabeth Wright’s new biography sheds light on the life and writing of one of the foundational authors of twentieth-century British and European fiction and explodes some of the commonly held myths.
Virginia Woolf is considered to be one of the key Modernist writers of the early twentieth century, through her experimental fiction such as Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and The Waves (1931), but she is also known as a prolific essayist, publishing hundreds of articles and reflective reviews including two notable volumes entitled The Common Reader (1925 and 1932). Her longer essays, ‘A Room of One’s Own’ (1929) and ‘Three Guineas’ (1938), stand as some of the most convincing and influential feminist tracts ever written.
Her colourful circle of family and friends, known as The Bloomsbury Group, consisted of leading writers, thinkers, artists and performers and Elizabeth Wright scours their letters, along with Woolf’s diaries and memoir papers, to illuminate the mind of a literary genius.
On Fiction by Virginia Woolf
‘Here, then, very briefly and with inevitable simplification, an attempt is made to show the mind at work upon a shelf full of novels and to watch it as it chooses and rejects, making itself a dwelling-place in accordance with its own appetites. Of these appetites, perhaps, the simplest is the desire to believe wholly and entirely in something which is fictitious.’
Her readings sensitive, her prose style elegant, authoritative and at times thoroughly opinionated, who better equipped than Virginia Woolf to ruminate on the art of fiction? In this selection of lesser-known essays on reading and storytelling, Woolf turns her critical gaze on treasured favourites including ‘the four great women novelists – Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot’, and unearths some less familiar talents. Her discussion of differing approaches to reading is characteristically forward-thinking, and pinpoints the joys of this favourite pastime, in all its guises.