“A thoroughly engaging compendium of literary arcadia.” —Nicholas Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness
When did cigarettes start making an appearance in English literature? Which author’s heart was purportedly eaten by a cat? One of our best-known and best-loved literary critics turns his attention to the more bizarre areas of literature in this miscellany of fact and trivia. Which author had the heaviest brain? What was the original title of 1984? Who made the first bouillon soup? What do twelve percent of all winners of the Booker Prize have in common? What didn’t happen on Thomas Carlyle’s famous wedding night? And, while we’re at it, who wrote the first Western, and is there any link between asthma and literary genius? Sutherland’s irreverent literary masterpiece illuminates every topic imaginable from author advances to Civil War literature to Victorian sex to odd things eaten by literary characters (think Patrick Bateman’s girlfriend in American Psycho). Other fascinating insights include the fact that the number one title among American Civil War soldiers was Les Miserables. This is the ideal anthology of fascinating information and trivia for all book lovers.
“A lively read for anyone who wants to learn more about their favorite classics, and a lively cheat sheet for those who want to impress their friends in the lit crowd.” —Publishers Weekly