Five Fascinating Facts about Samuel Richardson

Interesting facts about a pioneering novelist

1. His first book was a guide for apprentices. The Apprentice’s Vade Mecum appeared in 1733 and offered advice for young apprentices of all trades, especially when it came to things like drinking and ‘wenching’. (Well, we all need a little guidance over such things…)

2. Samuel Richardson’s first novel, Pamela, began life as a conduct-book designed to teach young women how to write better letters. However, what began as a series of loosely related letters quickly began to coalesce into a clear narrative, and Pamela (subtitled Virtue Rewarded) was born. This 1740 novel tells the story of the titular character, a teenage servant-girl whose rakish master tries to seduce her. However, Pamela refuses to give herself to her boss unless he marries her first, which he does indeed end up doing – her ‘virtue’ is ‘rewarded’.

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A Very Short Biography of Benjamin Disraeli

The interesting life of a Prime Minister – and novelist

For Jane Ridley, one of Benjamin Disraeli’s most acclaimed biographers, Disraeli is never boring. With that in mind, in this post we offer a short biography of Benjamin Disraeli that aims to condense some of the most interesting aspects of his colourful life into one very brief article. What made the life of Benjamin Disraeli – politician, Prime Minister, successful novelist – so fascinating?

Benjamin Disraeli was born in 1804 into the Jewish faith, although his father had his son baptised in the Church of England at age 13. That father, Isaac D’Israeli, was the author of the sort of book we here at Interesting Literature love – a collection of anecdotes and intriguing facts called Curiosities of Literature. Like father, like son: they both appear to have gone in terror of the boring.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Henry Fielding

Trivia about a pioneering English comic novelist

1. Fielding was largely responsible for the Licensing Act being passed, which would exercise huge control over British theatres for over two centuries. Fielding wasn’t in favour of the Act – which decreed that all plays being performed in public theatres in the UK must be read and passed by the Lord Chamberlain – but nevertheless played a key role in the formation of it. A series of stage satires penned by Fielding, mocking King George II and Robert Walpole, first de facto Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, led Walpole to push for theatre censorship. He was successful, and the Licensing Act came into force.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Patrick Hamilton

Interesting facts about a neglected novelist and playwright

1. Patrick Hamilton’s famous fans and champions have included Doris Lessing and Graham Greene. The playwright and author J. B. Priestley was also an admirer of Hamilton’s work, much of which focuses on working-class British life. In 1968, future Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing lamented: ‘Hamilton was a marvellous novelist who’s grossly neglected.’ More recently, Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby has expressed admiration for Hamilton’s novels, declaring Hamilton ‘my new best friend’ when he first encountered his work.

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Five Obscure and Forgotten Novelists Who Should Be Better Known

Five little-known novelists and the reasons they should be more famous than they are

One of our favourite sources of reference among recently published books here at Interesting Literature Towers is the gargantuan volume Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives by John Sutherland, retired Professor of English Literature and prolific critic and biographer. Although, as the book’s subtitle reveals, Sutherland offers mini-biographies of 294 novelists, we were often most struck by those figures whose names were new (or else only vaguely known) to us. Often it turned out that these novelists had been responsible for some of the most famous and popular characters, films, and books that the last couple of centuries have produced, so what follows is our pick of the five most interesting not-so-famous authors whom Sutherland discusses in his book.

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