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The Maker of the Omnibus

Jack Hodges
Date Published
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Extraordinary in its scope and ambition, The Maker of the Omnibus is the first ever comparative study of the lives of English writers, spanning styles and centuries in a compelling and illuminating way.

In this irresistible treasure-trove, Jack Hodges has taken a selection of writers and explored their lives and characters: how far do work-methods differ? What is inspiration? To what extent do background and education play a part? Is creativity driven by suffering? Through these themes, Hodges links and contrasts a vast cross-section of English writers, making this book at once an impressive academic feat, a hugely entertaining collection of anecdotes, and a testimony to the author’s huge and eccentric life-study.

Beyond its sequel, The Heart of the Writer (also to be reissued in Faber Finds) there is no book quite like this; and it is fun.

‘Its a wonderfully rich book that those who care for writers and writing will find their own way of reading and using.’ Edward Blishen, Times Educational Supplement

‘The word that to me sums up the compiler of this treasure-trove is ”bookman” – Jack Hodges has a love not only of great literature, but also of books and authors in general, of otherwise long-forgotten memoirs, indeed of just about anything and everything to do with the printed word.’ Ion Trewin, City Recorder

‘It is characteristic of this book that, almost by chance, it seems to raise the most profound issues of creativity.’ Peter Ackroyd, The Times Saturday Review


Jack Hodges first left school at fifteen to avoid being evacuated. He was thirty when he entered the College of St Mark and St John, Chelsea. At thirty-nine he graduated in English Honours at Birkbeck, London. Although he always wanted to write, he does not regret the thirty-three years he spent in teaching.

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