Book Review – Telling Stories from Chaucer to Joyce by David James

This is not something I would normally read or buy but I know some of the author’s other works and know he is a fine writer in his own right.  This book takes us through the work of seven major literary figures from the 14th to 20th centuries.  It chooses one example from the writings of each namely, Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales, Bunyan – The Pilgrim’s Progress, Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy, Jane Austen – Mansfield Park, Charles Dickens – Great Expectations, George Elliot – Middlemarch and James Joyce – Ulysses.

David James reviews and contrasts each of these writings with each other, and provides an ongoing commentary on what he believes is the thoughts of the author behind each work.  This clearly provides helpful notes for any budding student of literature.  I have read examples or either watched or listened to screen or radio adaptations of the books listed here.  I have not studied literature formally since my schooldays but David’s analysis provides me with a good insight into the minds of seven great literary geniuses and for this I am grateful.  I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in great literature.  Hopefully, it will also serve to help me in my own writing.

Keith Jahans

Available on Amazon as a paperback and ebook

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