'A quite stunning collection. There are descriptions in this book so fresh that they sear themselves into the imagination.' - Jeremy Paxman
'A wonderful book to browse in - a treasury of curios, touching memorabilia, shocking facts . . . It deserves a place by the bedside of every literary insomniac.' Jonathan Raban, Observer.
John Carey is Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of several books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray, and most recently, Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the Twentieth Century's Most Enjoyable Books, described, by James Wood in the London Review of Books, as 'likeable, wise and often right . . . one feels an attractive sense of partisanship in Carey's writing, an alliance with the ordinary, the plain spoken, the unlettered, the sympathetic and the humane. Carey writes with an Orwellian attention to decency'. He is a regular critic on BBC2's Newsnight Review. He is also the editor of the best-selling anthologies The Faber Book of Reportage, The Faber Book of Science and The Faber Book of Utopias.