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 it, “to command attention, dominate one's fellows” (266);…

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Citation: Tredell, Nicolas. "Barry Unsworth". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 December 2006; last revised 01 November 2012. [, accessed 29 May 2024.]

4501 Barry Unsworth 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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