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It is vital, while appreciating that universal, transcendent, and classic quality of literature, to appreciate, as fully as one can, the conditions that gave birth to these works of literature, to reinsert them, back into history.
Dr. John Sutherland is the Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London and Visiting Professor of Literature at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He earned his B.A. and M.A. from Leicester University and his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University. Professor Sutherland taught at Edinburgh University and University College London, the site of England's longest-standing university English department, for 10 years each, before assuming his current post at Caltech. His numerous awards and honors include the Associated Student Body of Caltech Excellence in Teaching Award and Caltech's Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has served as a judge for the prestigious Man-Booker award. Professor Sutherland is the author of scores of scholarly articles, yet he is also one of the best-known academics outside of academia. His latest books are Curiosities of Literature (2009), an anthology of literary oddity; and a second edition of The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (2009)-a massive encyclopedia which he regards as his major effort in scholarship. He also wrote Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in 19th-Century Fiction, which spent a glorious week or two on The Sunday Times bestseller list; and Inside Bleak House, a companion to the BBC TV dramatization of Dickens's novel.
"Professor Sutherland does a superb job of giving deep and useful readings of his list of great works by great writers. He not only puts their writings in historical and literary context, he also deals with their subject matter in an insightful way."