Barry Unsworth's seventeen novels offer a feast of reading; he was a vigorous, highly-skilled storyteller who could conjure up ancient Greece, medieval Sicily, fourteenth-century England, Renaissance Venice, colonial Florida, Ottoman Constantinople, Mesopotamia in 1914, Thatcher's Liverpool, 1990s Umbria, and a host of other times and places. His fiction supplements its broadly realistic approach with elements from a variety of popular genres and literary modes: the historical novel, Gothic fiction, the spy thriller, the murder mystery, satire, black comedy, symbolism and metafiction. His key themes are the upsurge of unrecognized or unsatisfied desires; the “ancient urge”, as his best-known book, Sacred Hunger (1992), puts …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Tredell, Nicolas. "Barry Unsworth". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 December 2006; last revised 01 November 2012.
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]

Articles on Unsworth's works

  1. The Ruby in Her Navel

Related Groups

  1. Gothic, Grotesque & Supernatural Fiction