Sutherland, John (A.) 1938–

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Sutherland, John (A.) 1938–

(J. A. Sutherland)

PERSONAL: Born 1938. Education: Holds a B.A. and Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Office—Department of English Language and Literature, University College London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, faculty member, 1984–92, visiting professor; University College London, London, England, Lord Northcliffe professor of modern English literature.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Michael Greenfield; and author of introduction) William Makepeace Thackeray The History of Henry Esmond ("Penguin English Library" series), Penguin Books (Baltimore, MD), 1970.

(Editor) Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn: The Irish Member ("Penguin English Library" series), Penguin Books (Harmondsworth, England), 1972.

(As J. A. Sutherland) Thackeray at Work, Athlone Press (London, England), 1974.

(As J. A. Sutherland) Victorian Novelists and Publishers, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1976.

(Editor) William Makepeace Thackeray, The Book of Snobs, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1978.

(As J. A. Sutherland) Fiction and the Fiction Industry, Athlone Press (London, England), 1978.

Bestsellers: Popular Fiction of the 1970s, Routledge, Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1981.

Offensive Literature, Barnes & Noble (Totowa, NJ), 1983.

The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction, Longman (Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex, England), 1988, published as The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1989.

Mrs. Humphrey Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-eminent Edwardian, Oxford University Press (New York, NY, 1990.

(Editor and author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, He Knew He Was Right ("Penguin Classics" series), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor and author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, Rachel Ray ("Penguin Classics" series), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Victorian Fiction: Writers, Publishers, Readers, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Life of Walter Scott: A Critical Biography (Volume 6, "Blackwell Critical Biographies" series), Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

(Editor) The Oxford Book of English Love Stories, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?: More Puzzles in Classic Fiction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Where Was Rebecca Shot?: Curiosities, Puzzles, and Conundrums in Modern Fiction, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1998.

Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?: Further Puzzles in Classic Fiction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Literary Detective: 100 Puzzles in Classic Fiction, illustrated by Martin Rowson, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Cedric Watts) Henry V, War Criminal?: And Other Shakespeare Puzzles, introduction by Stephen Orgel, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Selector) Literary Lives, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Reading the Decades: Fifty Years of the Nation's Bestselling Books, BBC (London, England), 2002.

(Author of introduction) Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, The Shooting Party ("Penguin Classics" series), translation by Ronald Wilks, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Deirdre Le Faye) So You Think You Know Jane Austen?: A Literary Quizbook, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Author of a weekly column for Manchester Guardian.

EDITOR; "WORLD'S CLASSICS" SERIES

Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1982.

(And author of introduction) William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1983, 1998.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, He Knew He Was Right, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1985.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, Is He Popenjoy?, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(And author of introduction) Jack London, John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, Ralph the Heir, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1990.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, An Old Man's Love, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, An Eye for an Eye, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1992.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, Early Short Stories, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(And author of introduction) Anthony Trollope, Later Short Stories, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(And author of introduction) Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(And author of introduction and notes) Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, edited by Michael Sadleir and Frederick Page, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(And author of introduction) William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemy, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(And author of introduction) Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(And author of notes) Jack London, The Sea-Wolf, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction.

SIDELIGHTS: John Sutherland, a professor of modern English literature whose interests include Victorian fiction, twentieth-century literature, and the history of publishing, is the author or editor of many volumes in these areas. In reviewing his Victorian Fiction: Writers, Publishers, Readers for Studies in the Novel, Robert L. Patten wrote that Sutherland "has, by dint of an extraordinary range of intelligent and well-written publications, established his credentials as the foremost authority on the nineteenth-century fiction industry," and "is one of the few critics writing now whose prose encourages reading literary history for pleasure." In essays written over two decades Sutherland advocates for a reading of nineteenth-century writers, stating that "the more we know about the local conditions of Victorian fiction, the better we shall understand it." Bradley Deane wrote in Victorian Studies that Sutherland's "interest in these local conditions will be unsurprising: his work has always forcibly reminded us that novel writing is a form of labor, that publishing is a business, and that the shape of Victorian literature has been indelibly stamped by these material facts. Sutherland dislodges the canonical novelists from their pedestals to show them rubbing shoulders, as they did in life, with hacks and advertisers, politicians and publishers."

Victorian Fiction also studies changes in publishing, law, and celebrated trials. Deane felt the most "striking" essay to be the last, titled "The Victorian Novelists: Who Were They?" Here Sutherland provides an analysis of 878 novelists, using such factors as age, gender, background, and productivity, demonstrating that seven percent of this group was responsible for one third of the more than 15,000 novels studied. The results show Anthony Trollope, several of whose works Sutherland has edited for Oxford University Press's "World's Classics" series, to be notable in his output. Unmarried female writers are the single most prolific category, probably because there was little other work available for women of their intelligence and ability. Deane concluded by saying that, "with his usual grace and wit, Sutherland here offers another tour of the hectic world of urgent deadlines, clandestine negotiations, and shifting alliances that made Victorian novels Victorian."

The Life of Walter Scott: A Critical Biography relies on primary sources, which are substantial. Included is an extensive overview of Scott's literary output, as well as the details of his private life, including his love life and tendencies toward alcohol abuse, the part politics played in his career, and a close look at collaborators whose contributions elevated Scott's reputation. Review of English Studies contributor Peter Garside felt that the book is likely to evoke two sets of reactions, one from Scott scholars who may find it hostile, and the other from readers who, not as familiar with Scott, will cause the novelist "to be written off all too lightly as yet another dead male writer with an inflated reputation…. Certainly Sutherland's 'darker' Scott needs to be interrogated carefully, and with a view always to the possibility of other factors; but, at its best, this is a stimulating and provocative account, with the potential to shake complacencies in more than one quarter."

In addition to editing works for Oxford's "World's Classics," Sutherland has written a number of books that examine novels in which there is an unanswered question. These include Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Literature, in which the question of the title refers to Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and whether Hindley Earnshaw drank himself to death or was helped along by troubled Heathcliff. Sutherland plays with the possibilities, suggested by lapses in information in three dozen novels by Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen, among others. Sutherland notes, for example, that Robert Louis Stevenson never describes the face of his monster, Mr. Hyde, leaving that to his reader. An Economist reviewer noted that "the ambiguous ending of Charlotte Brontë's Villette, in which the heroine's fiance may or may not drown, was a means of avoiding the happy ending that readers—including Miss Bronte's father, were demanding." The reviewer concluded by saying that while "this may not be the sort of criticism that reveals new depths to genius," Sutherland's book sparks "a stimulating discussion that risks giving pedantry a good name."

Another of Sutherland's "puzzle" books is Henry V, War Criminal?: And Other Shakespeare Puzzles, in which he joins Shakespeare scholars Cedric Watts and Stephen Orgel. This book is more academic than its predecessors, because the text must be studied closely to uncover the inconsistencies and loose ends in Shakespeare's work. Joan Bridgman wrote in Contemporary Review that "this is a most refreshing and irreverent look at the bard yet without diminishing the power of his work. It is lively, racy and provocative, but with scholarly comment closely textually linked in such a way as to drive one back to reading the plays…. It does for critical commentary what the film Shakespeare in Love did for the bard, it makes him fun."

In writing Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography, Sutherland had the benefit of Spender's papers, provided by Lady Spender, and drew on the noted poet's own 1951 memoir, World Within World. Spender was, like Sutherland, Oxford-educated, and he counted among his friends W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood. Born in 1909, he came to prominence during the 1930s with his politically charged poetry, notably Poems, as well as his fiction and nonfiction, and continued to publish until 1985. Early in his life, he was bisexual but was happily married to his second wife, pianist Natasha Livin. He favored and then discarded communism following World War II, and was a coeditor of Encounter, a magazine funded by the Central Intelligence Agency through the Congress for Cultural Freedom as a vehicle for promoting American views. (Spender resigned in 1967 when he learned the truth about the publication's backing). Sutherland shows Spender to be a devoted family man and loyal friend. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Stephen Spender "pays fitting tribute to a man who was as admirable as he was gifted," and Library Journal critic Ben Bruton called it the "most thorough biography of Spender's life to date."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2005, Bryce Christensen, review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography, p. 802.

Contemporary Review, November, 1995, Eric Glasgow, review of Victorian Fiction: Writers, Publishers, Readers, p. 277; March, 2001, Joan Bridgman, review of Henry V, War Criminal?: And Other Shakespeare Puzzles, p. 182; January, 2005, Joan Bridgman, review of Stephen Spender, p. 51.

Criticism, winter, 1996, Ina Ferris, review of The Life of Walter Scott: A Critical Biography, p. 158.

Economist, October 19, 1996, review of Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Literature, p. S15.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of Stephen Spender, p. 1193.

Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Ben Bruton, review of Stephen Spender, p. 112.

New Statesman, July 5, 1996, D. J. Taylor, review of Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, p. 47.

Notes and Queries, June, 1996, Fiona Robertson, review of The Life of Walter Scott, p. 230.

Review of English Studies, May, 1997, Peter Garside, review of The Life of Walter Scott, p. 267.

Studies in the Novel, spring, 1997, Robert L. Patten, review of Victorian Fiction, p. 136.

Victorian Studies, winter, 1997, Bradley Deane, review of Victorian Fiction, p. 326.

ONLINE

Stephen Spender Memorial Trust Web site, http://www.stephen-spender.org/ (March 9, 2005) review of Stephen Spender.

University College of London Web site, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ (March 9, 2005) "John Sutherland."

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Sutherland, John (A.) 1938–

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