Elaborate plotting is the novelistic skill least often valued by critics, even if relished by readers.
This lecture will look at novelists who raise plot to a literary art. We begin with Henry Fielding, the first great novelist to delight in cunning narrative design. Then Dickens’s complex plot making, including the half-finished and tantalizing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Finally, the lecture will celebrate the plotting artistry of modern writers like Ian McEwan and John le Carré.
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John is Visiting Gresham Professor of English Literature.
He is the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and is at present writing the volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784.
John is a regular TV and radio broadcaster and a literary journalist; he writes on contemporary fiction for the Guardian and was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
Professor Mullan was appointed Visiting Gresham Professor of English Literature for 2020/21.
In his first lecture series for Gresham College, Visiting Professor John Mullan will combine his scholarly expertise in the history of the English novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with his interest in contemporary fiction.
Professor Mullan's lecture series is as follows:
2021/22 The Powers of the Novel cont.
2020/21 The Powers of the Novel