John Carey
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Reviews I have written recently, appearing in the Sunday Times.

The Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett by Helen Smith: ‘He made me an author,’ Joseph Conrad said of Edward Garnett, one of the most influential men in modern literature (19 November 2017)

The Written World: How Literature Shaped History by Martin Puchner: A breathtaking survey of how writing has developed over the past 5,000 years (12 November 2017)

The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World by Maya Jasanoff: An exploration of the forces that shaped the writer who has been called a ‘bloody racist’ and the pioneer of modernism (15 October 2017)

The Letters of Sylvia Plath edited by Peter K Steinberg and Karen V Kukil: Sylvia Plath’s deep anxieties were there from the start, these letters show (1 October 2017)

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time by Hilary Spurling: A fond biography of Anthony Powell tries to defend him from charges of privilege  (24 September 2017)

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt: A fascinating investigation into the origins of the story of Adam and Eve  (3 September 2017)

Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame by Robert McCrum: Seeing young people run is ‘almost unbearable’: the clear-sighted confessions of an ageing writer  (27 August 2017)

Gainsborough: A Portrait by James Hamilton: Libidinous, volatile, Thomas Gainsborough excelled at portraits of the rich and famous — but railed against the ‘confounded creatures’ he immortalised  (31 July 2017)

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Books and Birds by Alex Preston and Neil Gower: A rich gathering of the writers who have tried to capture birds on the page  (9 July 2017)

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 by Rosemary Ashton: The stench from the Thames in the heatwave of 1858 tipped London over the edge  (2 July 2017)

Collecting the World — The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane by James Delbourgo: The slave-owning physician whose odd collection became the British Museum  (4 June 2017)

Paradise Lost: A Life of F Scott Fitzgerald by David S Brown: F Scott Fitzgerald poured his self-pity about being an outsider and his troubles with women into his fiction  (21 May 2017)

Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre by Nicholas Hytner: From War Horse to The History Boys, Nicholas Hytner had a run of successes, but it was often turbulent behind the scenes  (30 April 2017)

The Good Bohemian: The Letters of Ida John edited by Rebecca John and Michael Holroyd: The never-before published letters of Augustus John’s wife Ida show how she suffered from his selfish sexual behaviour  (16 April 2017)

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet by Thomas Dilworth: Called a ‘genius’ by TS Eliot, the poet and painter David Jones is now barely known. An admiring volume aims to change that  (2 April 2017)

Eat Me: A Natural and Unnatural History of Cannibalism by Bill Schutt: A gripping and alarming study tells us eating humans might be natural after all  (29 January 2017)

Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum by Kathryn Hughes: From Darwin’s bushy beard to Rossetti’s painting of his mistress’s bee-stung lips: how the buttoned-up Victorians really felt about their bodies (15 January 2017)

The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case by Michael Rosen: Fleeing the French authorities over the Dreyfus Affair, Emile Zola took refuge in Upper Norwood  (01 January 2017)

Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday by Gerry Bowler: Killjoys have been taking potshots at the festive season ever since medieval times  (18 December 2016)

Mansions of Misery: A Biography of the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison by Jerry White: You either paid or starved to death in the privately run Marshalsea debtors’ prison  (11 December 2016)

Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World by Marc Raboy: Marconi helped shape the modern world, but this superb biography throws fresh light on his dark side — and his unsavoury connections with fascism (20 November 2016)

The Man Who Ate The Zoo: Frank Buckland, Forgotten Hero of Natural History by Richard Girling:  Despite eating rhinos and wombats, this Victorian naturalist was the Attenborough of his time (6 November 2016)