Classic or contemporary

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Classic or contemporary

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apr 22, 2007, 7:00pm

Old or new? Who are your favourite British authors?

Old - mine would be Somerset Maughan, George Orwell and Jane Austen

New - Ian McEwan, Marion Husband, John Fowles

apr 22, 2007, 9:17pm

Jane Austen of course, William Makepeace Thackeray (for Vanity Fair alone he's a genius), and Dickens probably.

Contemporary: I love William Boyd, Jonathan Coe, Sarah Waters, Susan Hill and Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2007, 9:36pm

Old/New = before WWI/after WWI. My own distinction, primarily due to the siginifant social, political, and economic changes brought on by WWI

Kenneth Grahame, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Laurence Sterne, Emily Bronte, Saki, Edward Gibbon, James Boswell, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

New - Edward Rutherford, C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, H. V. Morton, C. S. Lewis


apr 22, 2007, 9:47pm

#3 - good distinction. It called to mind Larkin's MCMXIV:

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word -the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

apr 22, 2007, 3:45am

yess somwhere around the twenties as sevants started to disappear and a literate nonelitist class emerged everything changed.

apr 23, 2007, 7:04am

Hi Rache - I'd forgotten Elizabeth Jane Howard - love her writing too!

apr 23, 2007, 8:24am

Thomas Hardy of course.

For me new probably means still alive, old would be already dead.

Agatha Christie

Do you count born in Britain even if they are residing abroad?

Lee Child Alistair Reynolds

apr 23, 2007, 1:34pm

Well I don't know about favourite but I have soft spots for Wilkie Collins, Saki and Wodehouse. For the new then Iain M. Banks (with and without the M. - but the touchstone seemed hesitant without the M.) and Peter Ackroyd.

apr 23, 2007, 1:57pm

THERE IS ANOTHER GROUP called Anglophiles. Perhaps we should combine the two ? or read both?

Redigeret: apr 23, 2007, 3:18pm

I've asked myself which authors' books do I actually buy, even in hardback, instead of borrowing, as that's a measure for me of how much I admire them. The answer is Ian McEwan, Nick Hornby (except his last novel) and Peter Ackroyd.

As for dead British authors - Arnold Bennett, William Golding, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.

Redigeret: apr 23, 2007, 3:33pm

I've recently discovered C.P. Snow - just read the one novel so far The Masters which I really enjoyed. Set in the 30s in a Cambridge college, it is about an internal election - only 14 people involved. Very atmospheric and well paced. An easy read but lots to think about. Plan on reading more by him.

An Anglo-Irish novelist, Joyce Cary is another recent discovery. I've read Herself Surprised which is a first-person narrative by Sara Monday - I loved her voice and her take on things. It is the first part in a trilogy - the other two volumes are from the perspective of different characters - and they are on my TBR list. I mention him here because the novel is entirely set in England.

Both came my way because of my Penguin collecting.

apr 23, 2007, 7:56pm

>9 amandameale:
I'm sure there's some overlap between those who like British authors (among others) and those who are Anglophiles, but I don't see these as the same. Often, I don't know if an author is British or American, and don't generally choose the book based on that distinction.


apr 23, 2007, 9:02pm

#9 - combining a group called Anglophiles with one called Best of British does rather beg the question about what to do with Scots and Welsh authors......

apr 23, 2007, 9:07pm

No One Ever mentions John Galsworthy but I love him along with Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Talbot Mundy, Rudyard Kipling, Frances Hodgson Burnett, John Powys, Sarah Waters,and JK Rowling.

I am currently working on Barbara Pym's Civil to Strangers that I do not get. Could someone please tell me what it is that I do not get? I listen to the book as a tape at bed time every night and it puts me to sleep immediately. Please advise......

Redigeret: apr 23, 2007, 10:38pm

Hello, I'm new and just starting to explore this wonderful site.

Margaret Drabble is one of my favourite writers of any nationality; I also enjoy Louis de Bernieres, Jane Gardam, Salley Vickers, and Laurie Graham.

I can't say I read much 19th century literature, but I'll go back to the earlier part of the 20th--I like Mary Webb, Anthony Powell and Dorothy Sayers.

Redigeret: apr 23, 2007, 1:16am

As a child we were poor and there was little enter-tainment. When I was about 10 I discovered books. I discovered Dickens. I loved him. The books were wonderful and had woodcut drawing. I loved when I'd get to a page with the drawing. Later I discovered the Brontes. We lived with relatives for a while and I identified with poor Jane Eyre. I always wished I had that window seat she used to hide in. I came late to Jane Austen. I love Persuasion. It's my favorite Austen. I also love Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books, especially the ones with Harriet Vane. I agree that Galsworthy is wonderful.

apr 24, 2007, 5:57am

I love Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, Elizabeth Jane Howard ... I could go on and on. My favourite contemporary British authors include Ian McEwan and Sarah Waters - not very original choices, but oh-so-good.

apr 25, 2007, 8:09pm

Well, of course, Jane Austen, the Bronte's, Charles Dickens, George Elliot, for old.
Edith Nesbit, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, for early this century.

New, Katie Fforde, Sophie Kinsella.

What I would really like is to find some of the less known authors. I find it difficult to do from across the waters.

apr 26, 2007, 7:14am

Lisalouhoo - Katie Fforde will be at the Readers & Writers Day on Saturday, May 19th at Borders, Charing Cross Road if you want to meet her. I think it's from 12 - 4pm.

apr 26, 2007, 8:40am

Katie Fforde is my guilty pleasure! I can't stand chick-lit, but I'll make an exception for her! She's fabulous. However, I didn't like Practically Perfect, her latest book, at all. Sadly, I'm not near enough to London to go to the event, though. :(

apr 26, 2007, 12:56pm

I will chose Anthony Trollope for old on the strength of the Palliser novels alone.

For new, I love Minette Walters and Anita Brookner.

Redigeret: apr 26, 2007, 1:06pm

Graham Greene is my favorite. I'm also a big fan of P.G. Wodehouse, though for some reason, I gravitate toward the Jeeves and Wooster stories and novels and ignore most of the rest.

Redigeret: apr 26, 2007, 2:11pm

My top twelve (I couldn't get it down to ten - twelve was difficult enough) in roughly chronological order are: -

Jane Austen
Wilkie Collins
George Eliot
Mary Webb
Daphne Du Maurier
Mary Wesley
Angela Carter
P D James
Susan Hill
Ian McEwan
Kate Atkinson
Sarah Waters

Plus an honourable mention for Julia Darling who only published two books - both of them wonderful - before dying young.

apr 26, 2007, 6:03pm

I don't know how, but I forgot to mention Virginia Woolf when I posted my favorites. I fell in love with her writing when I read A Haunted House.


apr 27, 2007, 10:37pm

Can't go past classic British humour. Some suggestions: Rose Macaulay's Towers of Trebizond; William Gerhardie's The Polyglots; E. F. Benson's Lucia novels; Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm; The Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody. I've just re-read Three Men in a Boat - very cheering at the end of a hard day. The humour in all of these comes from the dry, witty observation of the characters' little pomposities and self-deceptions. I see the same foibles in friends, colleagues and myself - have to laugh.

apr 27, 2007, 12:02am

I loved Diary of a Nobody though I left it off my list. For humor you can't beat the Pickwick Papers.

apr 28, 2007, 10:00am

Oooh yes, E.F. Benson - I's forgotten how much I enjoyed the Lucia books - must drag them out again this summer. Thanks for reminding me about them.

jun 24, 2007, 10:11am

'Old" classic fiction - my favourites are Anthony Trollope (esp. the Barset novels); Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.

Children's genre - A. A. Milne; Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl.

'New'/Modern - Kazuo Ishiguro (Japanese/British) and Jeremy Clarkson for his witty irreverence.

apr 23, 2008, 10:11pm

For "classic" fiction I enjoy Jane Austen, the Brontes, William Thackeray, George Eliot, and E.M. Forster. Thackeray in particular - mostly because I wasn't expecting as much with his novels and Vanity Fair and Henry Esmond were so wonderful. I really think he's undervalued right now.

I also love many of the Romantic poets, particularly John Keats.

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read much contemporary English fiction except for Elizabeth Jane Howard and A.S. Byatt. And if Roald Dahl counts (despite being dead), I love him, too.

apr 24, 2008, 10:53am

Five Classics:
Three Men in a Boat
Brave New World
Animal Farm
A Handful of Dust

plus a honorary mention for anything by PG Wodehouse

Five contemporaries:
The Cement Garden
The Crow Road
White Teeth
The Remains of the Day
What A Carve Up!