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A.S. Byatt (1936) has become known world-wide for her award-winning novel Possession (1990). This thrilling story of romance and literary detection, spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has prompted a widespread reappraisal of Byatt's entire oeuvre throughout Europe, the United States, and elsewhere, where she is often read in translation. Richard Todd's assessment of Byatt's literary identity treats the entire range of her writing from her earliest novels and essays to the present. Topics covered include Byatt's conviction that all her writing forms part of one activity along with her astonishing range of reading; her fictional treatment of families and biographers; her belief that her characters must be portrayed as thinking being profoundly affected by joy and loss; her interest in writing about painting; and her articulately-held belief on matters such as religion and philosophy, metaphor and fairy tale.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 96 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 9.4mm | 180g
  • Tavistock, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1ill.
  • 0746307926
  • 9780746307922
  • 1,622,947

Back cover copy

The publication of Possession (1990) brought world-wide renown for A. S. Byatt and prompted a reappraisal of her work. Her ideas on fiction writing, and on religion, philosophy, and the fairy tale, have stimulated discussion among critics and readers alike. In this first book-length study of her work, Richard Todd considers the entire range of Byatt's writing including the most recent novel, Babel Tower (1996). He explores the paradox whereby her intense sense of privacy co-exists with an unflinching honesty, and he examines Byatt's fictional treatment of themes such as families, biography, Darwinism, 'real accident', and the fantastic.
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About Richard Todd

Richard Todd is Reader in English Literature at the free University, Amsterdam. He has taught extensively in Western Europe and the United States and has lectured and published widely on the early modern period, 19th- and 20th-century literature in particular. His books include: Iris Murdoch (1984) and The Opacity of Signs: Acts of Interpretation in George Herbert's `The Temple' (1988). His latest book Consuming Fictions (1996) is a major study of current fiction and the 1980s prize culture in Britain.
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