Ian Littlewood

The books I've written are listed below. If you click on the cover image or one of the underlined links, you can view scanned extracts from the book.


'This is the best and most up-to-date compendium of essential facts drawn from Biblical lore, universal history, literary chronologies, lists of tropes and poetic movements...a desperately needed survival kit for those who face our current mixture of information overload and short term memory.'
- Professor J.M. Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

'A remarkable combination of explanation, encyclopedia, glossary and database ... this is exactly the kind of book I wish I'd had as a student.'
-Professor Laurie Maguire, Magdalen College, University of Oxford

* THE ROUGH GUIDE HISTORY OF FRANCE (Penguin / Rough Guides, 2002)
Sample link to ‘Introduction’ + ‘The Valois’

'Uniquely accessible pocket histories' - History Today**

* SULTRY CLIMATES: TRAVEL AND SEX SINCE THE GRAND TOUR (John Murray, 2001, translated into Italian)
Sample link to ‘Forbidden Fruit’
Sample link to an edited extract for The Daily Telegraph

‘As his indispensable literary companions to Paris and Venice show, Ian Littlewood has long since proved himself a discerning, perceptive and wonderfully well-read guide to intellectual and cultural landscapes… There are many good things in this very good book.’ - The Independent [full review]

‘… a marvellously taut book… Littlewood groups his characters carefully… and pays scrupulous attention to the changing historical context.’ - The Daily Telegraph

‘Ian Littlewood’s book… is deliciously racy, provocative and quick-witted, stuffed with louche anecdotes and exotic quotes.’ - The Sunday Times

‘Like his previous books, notably Venice: A Literary Companion, this is a polished, educated read… It is also mercifully concise.’ - The Financial Times

‘Littlewood has produced a good read, a thoughtful book and a welcome reminder that our sense of the glamour and thrill of travel is not part of some sleazy postwar boom but a facet of our common humanity.’ - The Guardian

‘Highly enjoyable’ - The Mail on Sunday

* THE IDEA OF JAPAN: WESTERN IMAGES, WESTERN MYTHS (Secker & Warburg, 1996, translated into Swedish and Japanese)
Sample link to ‘A Lewd People’

'a sharp and amusing guide to cultural myths and misunderstandings'
- The New York Review of Books

‘excellent study… Everyone here ought to read this’ - Donald Richie, The Japan Times

'the most interesting book this summer' - Asahi Magazine

‘a fascinating exploration of Japanese life’ - Booknews

Sample link to ‘place de la Concorde’

* VENICE: A LITERARY COMPANION (John Murray, 1991, reissued by Penguin, 2001)
Sample link to ‘Preface’ + ‘campiello Barbaro’ + ‘San Lorenzo’

‘... the judicious selection of writings provides a welcome alternative to the tiresome train-spotting mentality of most guides and the author’s own mellifluous prose ties the enormous range of excerpts into a cogent whole. That yet another guide to Venice should not be superfluous is a measure of his achievement.’ - The Literary Review

‘If you’re going to Venice, this is the smart book to take.' - The Daily Express

‘… the author makes himself felt as an erudite but leisurely and good-humoured stroller; an agreeable, sometimes astringent presence throughout.’ - The London Magazine

+ PARIS: A LITERARY COMPANION (John Murray, 1987, reissued by Penguin, 2001)
Sample link to ‘Ile Saint-Louis’

‘A perfect book to remind one of the streets of Paris’ - The London Evening Standard

‘The only complaint is that it is too short’ - The Spectator

‘Marvellously rich reading…’ - The Sunday Telegraph

Sample link to ‘travel and romanticism’

‘Ian Littlewood’s dissection of the works of Waugh is admirable: fluently written, insightful, convincing most of the time in its arguments, thoroughly researched…’ - The New Statesman