Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Search - Author Unknown: Tales of a Literary Detective

Author Unknown: Tales of a Literary Detective
Author Unknown Tales of a Literary Detective
Author: Don Foster
ISBN 0805068120 is the paperback edition. The hardcover edition is ISBN 0805063579 and it has a different subtitle and cover image, but they are the same book. --the Publisher A fascinating account of Don Foster's most compelling investigations, "crammed with . . . wordplay and whodunit intrigue" (The Boston Globe) In Author U...  more », Don Foster reveals a startling fact: since no two people use language in precisely the same way, our identities are encoded in our own language, a kind of literary DNA. Combining traditional scholarship with modern technology, Foster has discovered how to unlock that code and, in the process, has invented an entire field of investigation -- literary forensics -- by which it becomes possible to catch anonymous authors as they ultimately betray their identities with their own words. Foster's unique skills first came to light when a front-page New York Times article announced his discovery that a previously unattributed poem was written by Shakespeare. A few weeks later, Foster identified Joe Klein as the author of Primary Colors. Foster also took on the case of an oddball California bag lady who many believed to be the elusive Thomas Pynchon. His contributions to the Unabomber case take us inside the tangled mind of Ted Kaczynski. And, in the final chapter, Foster makes a surprising -- and heartening -- discovery about a beloved holiday icon.
ISBN-13: 9780805068122
ISBN-10: 0805068120
Publication Date: 10/1/2001
Pages: 318
Edition: 2nd Rep
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Henry Holt Company
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Author Unknown: Tales of a Literary Detective on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is one of those books I found out about in a bookstore display and would not have known about otherwise.

I am so glad I found it. It is all about how each writer has their own distinct style in terms of word choice, grammatic usage etc. Foster was the man who proved that the "Anonymous" author of Primary Colors was indeed Joe Klein. He also discusses his work on the Lewinsky talking points, the Unabom Case, the letters from Wanda the Fort Bragg Bag Lady alledged to be Thomas Pynchon and the Night Before Christmas.

This was a fascinating book that showed how literary analysis applied to Shakespeare can also be extremely useful in solving modern day mysteries.
reviewed Author Unknown: Tales of a Literary Detective on + 301 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Fascinating as this is, I thought the chapters lasted just a little longer than my interest in each case. Even so, this an interesting book. Particularly if one is interested in what makes each writer's voice unique.
Read All 2 Book Reviews of "Author Unknown Tales of a Literary Detective"


Want fewer ads?