Shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2017
Over a career spanning nearly fifty years Edward Garnett – editor, critic and publisher’s reader – would become one of the most influential men in twentieth-century British literature. Famed for his incisive criticism and unwavering conviction in matters of taste, Garnett was responsible for spotting and nurturing the talents of a constellation of our greatest writers.
In The Uncommon Reader Helen Smith brings to life Garnett’s fascinating, often stormy, relationships with those writers – from Joseph Conrad to John Galsworthy, D.H. Lawrence to T.E. Lawrence, Henry Green to Edward Thomas. All turned to Garnett for advice and guidance at critical moments in their careers, and their letters and diaries offer an insight into their creative processes, their hopes and fears.
Addressing questions of culture, fame and success, this absorbing portrait of a man who shaped the literary landscape as we know it asks us to consider genius – what it is, where it comes from and to whom it belongs.
‘Rich in anecdote and knowledge, this is an exceptional biography of an exceptional human being.’ Sunday Times