A Brief History of the Book Blurb

Jeanette Winterson committed a bizarre act of literary arson earlier this month, in protest against “the cosy little domestic blurbs” her publisher had added to reissues of her novels. “Turned me into wimmins fiction of the worst kind!” she fumed. “Nothing playful or strange or the ahead of time stuff that’s in there. So I set them on fire.” (Compare for yourself: the new blurb for Winterson’s Written on the Body begins: “In a quiet English suburb, a love affair ignites”; the original 1992 blurb began “Written on the Body is a book for the human condition.”)

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