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The Oxford Book Of Literary Anecdotes
ISBN 0192819364 / 9780192819369 / 0-19-281936-4
Publisher Oxford University Press
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"If literature...can be described as journalism worth reading twice, then anecdotes can be described as gossip worth hearing twice," wrote Frank Muir in his London Times review of this book. The stories collected here--nearly 500 covering a span of 1300 years--have been heard and read many times over and have become almost a part of literature themselves. They add spice and dimension to literary works and illuminate the often shadowy characters of their authors. For instance, would the works of Samuel Johnson be half as interesting if his wit hadn't been recorded by his devoted biographer James Boswell? And would we understand T.S. Eliot's poems quite so well if we didn't know of his religious piety? James Sutherland has sifted through numerous memoirs and biographies to compile this rich and fascinating anthology of tall and short tales, moving portraits, and comic asides about the men and women of English letters. [via]