Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate (Paperback)
  • Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate (Paperback)
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Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate (Paperback)

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Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 04/01/2018
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In a series of penetrating and attractively readable essays, Stefan Collini explores aspects of the literary and intellectual culture of Britain from the early twentieth century to the present. Common Writing focuses chiefly on writers, critics, historians, and journalists who occupied wider public roles as cultural commentators or intellectuals, as well as on the periodicals and other genres through which they attempted to reach such audiences. Among the figures discussed are T.S. Eliot, Graham Greene, J.B. Priestley, C.S. Lewis, Kingsley Amis, Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Christopher Hitchens, and Michael Ignatieff. The essays explore the variety of such figures' writings - something that can get overlooked or forgotten when they are treated exclusively in terms of their contribution to one established or professional category such as 'novelist' or 'historian' - while capturing their distinctive writing voices and those indirect or implicit ways in which they position or reveal themselves in relation to specific readerships, disputes, and traditions. These essays engage with recent biographies, collections of letters, and new editions of classic works, thereby making some of the fruits of recent scholarly research available to a wider audience. Collini has been acclaimed as one of the most brilliant essayists of our time, and this collection shows him at his subtle, perceptive, and trenchant best. Common Writing will appeal to (and delight) readers interested in literature, history, and contemporary cultural debate.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198813118
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 548 g
Dimensions: 233 x 155 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
eloquently acerbic prose * Robert Irwin, Books of the Year 2016, Times Literary Supplement *
His [Collini's] task here, which he performs with admirable aplomb, is to eulogize the passing order ... [an] absorbing book * David Hawkes, Times Literary Supplement *
Collini brings not only a wealth of accumulated cultural, social, and political knowledge to all his criticism, but also perspicacity, common sense, humanity, and humility. These virtues are evident throughout Common Writing.... One of the most astute features of his analysis is the inherent tension he reveals between the roles of academic and intellectual... One of the strengths of Common Writing is the success with which Collini is able to show why his discipline matters... the historical perspective that he brings to his criticism is one of many reasons it is so compelling. * Rafe McGregor, Review 31 *
Collini offers a series of companionable, entertaining and often insightful considerations of his subjects. He has a gift for evoking a powerful sense of a particular writer's work and personality; his attention to their use of language is usually careful, sensitive and revealing; and he shows a willingness to argue against himself that lends his judgements extra subtlety, interest and weight. * Prospect *
elegant and arch series of essays on modern English intellectual life * Oxford Today *
at his best he [Collini] transforms our understanding of an author and the world in which he - and it is almost always he - works ... it would be worth handing these volumes on to students to give them a keener sense of how to write, for both these authors are brilliant stylists as well as important thinkers; indeed, they make the point ... that to write well is to think well. If they convey nothing more than that - and, read attentively, they will convey far more - these books will have served a most useful purpose. * William Whyte, Twentieth Century British History *
This collection shows the considerable talents and erudition of one of Britain's finest essayists and writers * Ronan McDonald, Times Higher Education *
Collini ... writes with lively wit and insight. Penetrating, down-to-earth, often hilarious, these essays are perfect brain-food * Christopher Hirst, The Independent *
One of the finest essayists we have * Jonathan Derbyshire, Prospect *

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