This section is one of the largest in the bookshop. No surprise, since it attempts to contain as many examples as possible of the best writing in the world.
Between A and Z you will find Jane Austen and the Brontës, Waugh, Wodehouse, Zola and Zweig, Stein and Steinbeck and Scott, Trollope and Tolstoy, Herman Hesse and Herman Melville, Aldous Huxley and Anthony Hope …
If you click on the photograph below you will get a random sample of what you might expect to find here – though bear in mind that the picture shows only the authors appearing alphabetically between ‘Fer’ and ‘Gal’.
Let’s see what’s there:
On the left, Susan Ferrier’s vigorous 1824 novel, showing glimmers of early feminism, lives next to Henry Fielding’s very funny picaresque romps from the 1740s. Beside them are two books by the shockingly ‘aesthetic’ Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) and one by the great French novelist Gustave Flaubert. (Memo: Get MORE Flaubert!)
Then there’s an obscure 1914 prose excursion by the poet James Elroy Flecker (another latterday aesthete), two fine novels by Ford Madox Ford, friend and contemporary of Joyce, Hemingway, Conrad, Pound and the rest, and a healthy selection of E M Forster’s work.
Miles Franklin comes next, one of the best Australian writers, whose career was posthumously revived in the 1980s when Virago republished her 1901 novel, My Brilliant Career. All that Swagger, rarely seen these days, was her other great success. Beside her is an English translation of Lion Feuchtwanger’s fascinating 1925 novel Jew Suss, whose plot was later shockingly warped by the Nazis into an antisemitic propaganda movie.
And finally there’s a full complement of John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga, most enjoyable (as was the TV series years ago), but little read these days.
What types of books do NOT appear in ‘Literature and Classics’? Well, anything written before about 200 AD (usually found in ‘Classical Studies’) or after about 1940. (Also anything that fails too obviously to be literature!)
If you can possibly do so, you are going to have to come and have a long browse. If not, you may phone or email to inquire about, reserve or order any titles.