The publication of Robinson Crusoe in London in 1719 marked the arrival of a revolutionary art form: the novel. British writers were prominent in shaping the new type of storytelling - one which reflected the experiences of ordinary people, with characters in whom readers could find not only an escape, but a deeper understanding of their own lives.
But the novel was more than just a reflection of British life. As Sebastian Faulks explains in this engaging literary and social history, it also helped invent the British. By focusing not on writers but on the people they gave us, Faulks not only celebrates the recently neglected act of novelistic creation but shows how the most enduring fictional characters over the centuries have helped map the British psyche. In this ebook, Sebastian celebrates the greatest snobs in fiction - from Emma Woodhouse to James Bond.
Also included are three classic novels: Emma by Jane Austen: Emma is rich, independent and preoccupied with arranging suitors for her acquaintances. Her plans for the matrimonial success of a new friend, however, lead her into complications that ultimately test her own detachment from the world of romance. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Pip's life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events lead him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder. The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith: Mr Charles Pooter is a respectable man, unfortunately, nobody seems to recognise his gentility. George and Weedon Grossmith's comic novel, perfectly illustrated, is a glorious, affectionate caricature of the English middle-class at the end of nineteenth century.