During the 1970s and the early 1980s Peter Ackroyd wrote countless book reviews and articles for the Spectator, on literature, film and a number of social and cultural issues. The Collection offers a selection of these incisive and entertaining pieces which established Ackroyd's reputation as a writer. Since 1986 Ackroyd has been chief book reviewer for The Times, and in this capacity he has reviewed some of the most important biographies and novels published over the last fifteen years. A selection of his Times reviews are included here. These reviews, and his articles for the Sunday Times, display his characteristic attitudes to literature and art. They also throw interesting lights on his own work as a prize-winning novelist and biographer. The Collection also contains a number of Ackroyd's interesting and provocative lectures on 'The Englishness of English literature', 'London Luminaries and Cockney Visionaries', 'William Blake' and 'The Nature of Time'. In addition, several essays on subjects such as the art of biography, contemporary painters such as Frank Auerbach and Ackroyd's own writing have been included.
Finally, three of Ackroyd's short stories have been reproduced, one of which was his first published work of fiction. The Collection is a revealing and fascinating anthology of Ackroyd's ideas and preoccupations. As such, it is the ideal companion volume to his novels and biographies and contains much previously unpublished
Peter Ackroyd's masterpiece London- The Biography was published in 2000, to critical acclaim and commercial success. His novels include Hawksmoor, Chatterton, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem and, mostly recently, The Plato Papers. He is the biographer of T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake and Thomas More. In 2000 Thomas Wright edited Table Talk Oscar Wilde, the first English anthology of Oscar Wilde's spoken stories. He has published a number of articles in the Times Literary Supplement and regularly reviews books for the Daily Telegraph. He has worked as Peter Ackroyd's researcher on a number of his recent projects.