Books About Julian Barnes

Excellent resources for those wishing to study the works of Julian Barnes.

Romans by Julian Barnes; Published by Gallimard; Edited by Vanessa Guignery

Julian Barnes: Romans

Translated from the English by Jean-Pierre Aoustin and Jean Guiloineau.
Edited and with a chronology by Vanessa Guignery.
Gallimard, 2022.

Included in this list of resources about Julian Barnes because of the extensive biographical chronology presented by Vanessa Guignery. Photos from Barnes's childhood and career supplement the detailed dates and events. Written in French.

Julian Barnes from the Margins by Vanessa Guignery

Julian Barnes from the Margins: Exploring the Writer's Archives

Vanessa Guignery
Bloomsbury Academic, 2020. Pp. 272

Available from the publisher and other independent booksellers.

Vanessa Guignery publishes Julian Barnes from the Margins: Exploring the Writer's Archives. It's a fascinating work of scholarship about Julian Barnes's creative process that Barnes himself read in draft and commented on prior to publication. Guignery taps her vast knowledge of Barnes's work to uncover delightful surprises from the rich archive of materials held at the Harry Ransom Center. In doing so, she creates a lasting and unique study of the author, his writing, and his creativity. Guignery firmly establishes herself as the world's foremost expert on Barnes's writing with a book like no other written on the author.

From the Publisher: Exploring the archives of the Man Booker prize-winning novelist Julian Barnes – including notebooks, drafts, typescripts and publishing correspondence – this book is an extraordinary in-depth study of the creative practice of a major contemporary novelist. In Julian Barnes from the Margins, Vanessa Guignery charts the genesis and publication history of all of Barnes's major novels, from his debut with Metroland, through Flaubert's Parrot and A History of the World in 10½ Chapters to The Sense of an Ending.

Stunned into Uncertainty: Essays on Julian Barnes’s Fiction

Stunned into Uncertainty: Essays on Julian Barnes’s Fiction

Edited by Eszter Tory and Janina Vesztergom
Budapest, 2014. Pp. 174

Available free online in PDF.

From the Publisher: The essays in this volume were written on Julian Barnes’s works by PhD students from Hungary and a guest contributor from Poland, all specializing in Modern English and American literature. Their contextualisations of Barnes’s novels within literary theory, narratology, Lacanian subject formation, the human quest for meaning or human-animal encounters, as well as their more playful attempts at defining the Barnesian text, are a tribute to Julian Barnes’s oeuvre and the inspiration his works provide. The essays are arranged around the key concepts of Abstraction, Anxiety and Ascendance, and they prove that students will respond to literature with a developing maturity and with an enthusiasm for the creative spark, whether it comes from their readings of literature, their readings in theory or their discussions of all of the above.

Julian Barnes (Contemporary Critical Perspectives) Edited by Sebastian Groes and Peter Childs

Julian Barnes (Contemporary Critical Perspectives)

Edited by Sebastian Groes and Peter Childs
Continuum, 2011. Pp. 192

From the Publisher: Julian Barnes is one of the most admired British writers of his generation. Although known primarily as a novelist and essayist, the ‘chameleon of British letters’ has written with distinction across the widest range of literary genres. Both he and his diverse and distinguished body of work have been awarded numerous literary prizes both in the UK and abroad. This critical guide provides a wide range of current critical perspectives on Barnes's work from best-selling novels of the 1980s, Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, up to his recent memoir Nothing to be Frightened of. Including contributions by some of the finest critics working in the contemporary field, it reflects the richness and diversity of one of Britain's greatest living writers.


Chronology of Julian Barnes's Life
Introduction: Julian Barnes and the Wisdom of Uncertainity / Sebastian Groes and Peter Childs

  • The Flâneur and the Freeholder: Paris and London in Metroland / Matthew Taunton
  • Inventing a Way to the Truth: Life and Fiction in Flaubert's Parrot / Ryan Roberts
  • 'A preference for things Gallic': Julian Barnes and the French Connection / Vanessa Guignery
  • 'An Ordinary Piece of Magic': Religion in the Work of Julian Barnes / Andrew Tate
  • Crossing the Channel: Europe and the Three Uses of France in Julian Barnes's Talking It Over / Merritt Moseley
  • 'Stranger Than Fiction': an epistolary essay on The Porcupine / Dimitrina Kondeva
  • England, England and Englishness / Richard Bradford
  • Matters of Life and Death: The Short Stories of Julian Barnes / Peter Childs
  • 'All Letters Quoted are Authentic': The Past after Postmodern Fabulation in Julian Barnes's Arthur & George / Christine Berberich

Afterword / Andrew Lycett

Julian Barnes by Peter Childs
Julian Barnes (Contemporary British Novelists)

Peter Childs
Manchester University Press, 2011. Pp. 166

From the Publisher: Peter Childs's Julian Barnes is a comprehensive introductory overview of the novels that situates Barnes's work in terms of fabulation and memory, irony and comedy.

It pursues a broadly chronological line through Barnes's literary career, but along the way it also shows how certain key thematic preoccupations and obsessions seem to tie Barnes's oeuvre together (love, death, art, history, truth, and memory). Chapters provide detailed reading of each major publication in turn while treating the major concerns of Barnes’s fiction, including art, authorship, history, love and religion. The book is very lucidly written, and it is also satisfyingly comprehensive - alongside the 'canonical' Barnes texts, it includes brief but illuminating discussion of the crime fiction that Barnes has published under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. This detailed study of fictions of Julian Barnes from Metroland to Arthur & George also benefits from archival research into his unpublished materials.

The book will be a useful resource for scholars, postgraduates and undergraduates working in the field of contemporary literature.


Series Editor's Foreword
List of Abbreviations
Introduction : Pleasure in Form

  • About to be less deceived: Metroland
  • Silly to Worry About: Before She Met Me
  • What happened to the truth is not recorded: Flaubert's Parrot
  • Intricate Rented World: Staring at the Sun
  • Safe for Love: A History of the World in 10½ Chapters
  • Tell me Yours: Talking it Over and Love, etc.
  • We won't get fooled again: The Porcupine
  • History doesn't relate: England, England
  • Retrospectively Imagined Memorials: Cross Channel and The Lemon Table
  • Conviction and Prejudice: Arthur & George

Select Bibliography

Conversations with Julian Barnes edited by Vanessa Guignery and Ryan Roberts
Conversations with Julian Barnes

Vanessa Guignery and Ryan Roberts
University Press of Mississippi, April 2009. Pp. 212

Conversations with Julian Barnes collects eighteen interviews, conducted over nearly three decades, by journalists and correspondents throughout the world with the author of such highly praised novels as Flaubert's Parrot and Arthur & George. Read More ›

Julian Barnes (New British Fiction) by Frederick M. Holmes
Julian Barnes (New British Fiction)

Frederick M. Holmes
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Pp. 176

From the Publisher: "This book presents an accessible introduction to the work of Julian Barnes which places it in historical and theoretical context. It presents a comprehensive and accessible introduction to all of Barnes' publications to date. It includes a timeline of important dates to help place new British fiction in context. This guide explores his characteristic literary techniques, offers extensive readings of all ten novels and provides an overview of the varied critical reception his work has provoked."

The Fiction of Julian Barnes: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism by Vanessa Guignery
The Fiction of Julian Barnes: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism

Vanessa Guignery
Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Pp. 240

Vanessa Guignery has written extensively about Julian Barnes. Her insightful and scholarly critiques of Barnes's works are complemented by accessible writing and a genuine understanding of the author. Covers all novels from Metroland through Arthur & George. This book should be read by anyone studying Barnes's work.

Julian Barnes: Writers and Their Work by Matthew Pateman
Julian Barnes: Writers and Their Work

Matthew Pateman
Northcote House, 2002. Pp. 106

A terrific resource that examine the works of Julian Barnes from Metroland through Love, etc. Matthew Pateman offers straightforward commentary of the novels, while retaining a high level of scholarship and interpretation. A must-read for anyone studying Barnes's work.

Language, History, And Metanarrative In the Fiction of Julian Barnes by Bruce Sesto
Language, History, And Metanarrative In the Fiction of Julian Barnes (Studies In Twentieth-Century British Literature, Vol. 3)

Bruce Sesto
Peter Lang, 2001. Pp. 136

Bruce Sesto's book offers moderate insight into Barnes's work. Covering Metroland through The Porcupine, the work is essentially Sesto's dissertation published in the mid-1990s. Contains a few errors, but otherwise a harmless examination of Barnes's work. Considering the price, try consulting other works before attempting this one.

Understanding Julian Barnes by Merritt Moseley
Understanding Julian Barnes

Merritt Moseley
Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1997. Pp. 198

Merritt Moseley's book represents perhaps the first book-length study of Barnes's work. Moseley covers Metroland through The Porcupine, including some short stories and Barnes's pseudonymous work as Dan Kavanagh. Written at a basic level, this book offers a nice introduction to Barnes's major works and themes.