Get A.S. Byatt: Critical Storytelling PDF

By Alexa Alfer

ISBN-10: 0719066522

ISBN-13: 9780719066528

This accomplished examine of A. S. Byatt’s paintings spans nearly her complete profession and gives insightful readings of all of Byatt’s works of fiction as much as and together with her Man-Booker-shortlisted novel The Children’s Book (2009). The authors mix an available review of Byatt’s oeuvre so far with shut severe research of all her significant works. Uniquely, the ebook considers Byatt’s severe writings and journalism, situating her past the quick context of her fiction. The authors argue that Byatt is not just very important as a storyteller, but additionally as an eminent critic and public highbrow. Advancing the concept that of "critical storytelling" as an indicator of Byatt’s undertaking as a author, the authors retrace Byatt’s wide-ranging engagement with either literary and demanding traditions. This leads to positioning Byatt within the wider literary panorama. This ebook has large attraction, together with fellow researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate scholars, plus normal fans of Byatt’s work.

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Prompted by Ivan, Julia readily concedes that her fictional heroine Emily Burnett ‘is a composite portrait, like any. And of course Cassandra and me – it’s a composite creature, in a way, a sort of binary fission’ (G: 176–7). And yet, as Ivan reminds her, A Sense of Glory still presents a decidedly ‘one-sided equation. Onesided, that is, because you’ve left out the persecuting female novelist’ (G: 175–6). Campbell (1988: 160) comments that ‘[b]y including the novelist in her novel – as Julia did not in hers – Byatt takes account of the moral problems of art and shows herself to be a better novelist than Julia’.

Something about transferring human interest from our ‘inward nature’ and ‘a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment . ’ – ah, yes – ‘that constitutes poetic faith’. (G: 148)6 Cassandra, meanwhile, ponders George Herbert’s poem ‘The Elixir’ in one of her journal entries. Her reflections on Herbert’s, her own and, one might argue, Byatt’s uses of the metaphor of glass throughout the narrative of The Game double as a comment not only on the ambivalence of Cassandra’s private writings but on the general problematics of a writing based on the paradigm of vision: It could be argued that I resent the simple idea of reality conveyed in the solid presence of chair and paper-weight.

S. Byatt’s focus in ‘People in Paper Houses’ is on symbiosis, on productive rather than combative relations between the two poles of the storytelling debate. Her broader allegiances are, however, clear. Or are they? ‘If I have defended realism, or what I call “self-conscious realism”’, Byatt (PM: 4) writes elsewhere, ‘it is not because I believe it has any privileged relationship to truth, social or psychological, but because it leaves space for thinking minds as well as feeling bodies’. At first sight, this is not such a far cry from the liberal-humanist mindset that underpins the classic case in favour of realism.

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A.S. Byatt: Critical Storytelling by Alexa Alfer


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