Книга: A. S. Byatt «Portraits in Fiction»

Portraits in Fiction

Portraits seem the opposite of fiction, fixed in time and space, not running with the curve of a story or a life. Yet since the birth of the novel, writers have been fascinated by portraits as icons, as motifs, as images of character and evocations of past time. A. S. Byatt delves into the complex relations between portraits and characters, and between portraits and novels as whole works of art. Her authors range from Henry James to Iris Murdoch, her artists from Holbein to Botticelli, Manet to the present day. She looks at the way writers use portraits to conjure up the past, as in Ford Madox Ford's The Fifth Queen and Virginia Woolf's Orlando. She explores their erotic use, the idea of painting as a sexual act, full of danger. And she examines the creation of fictional portrait painters by writers like Balzac and Zola, whose writing was closely linked, in different ways to the art of Cezanne. A portrait can defy the process of age but its very stillness can also seem like death. Art...

Издательство: "Vintage" (2002)

Формат: 130x200, 128 стр.

ISBN: 9780099429845

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Sugar and other StoriesA. S. Byatt's short fictions, collected in paperback for the first time, explore the fragile ties between generations, the dizzying abyss of loss and the elaborate memories we construct against it… — Vintage, (формат: 130x200, 256 стр.) Подробнее...1995894бумажная книга
A Whistling WomanThis intoxicating novel stands on its own, while forming a triumphant conclusion to A. S. Byatt's great quartet depicting the clashing forces in English life from the early 1950s to 1970. While… — Vintage, (формат: 125x195, 426 стр.) Подробнее...2003990бумажная книга
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The Biographer's TaleThis book is not a light read. It is heavy, layered, rich and in some parts indigestible. Yes, like the best Christmas cake. It contains not only literary references, but scientific and historical… — Vintage Classics, (формат: 130x195, 272 стр.) Подробнее...2001949бумажная книга

A. S. Byatt

A. S. Byatt

Byatt in June 2007 in Lyon, France.
Born Antonia Susan Drabble
24 August 1936 (1936-08-24) (age 75)
Sheffield, England, U.K.
Occupation Writer, poet
Nationality English
Period 1964–present


Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, DBE (commonly known as A. S. Byatt born 24 August 1936, Sheffield) is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on their list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.[1]


Life and career

Byatt was born as Antonia Susan Drabble, the daughter of John Drabble, QC, and Kathleen Bloor, a scholar of Browning.[2] Byatt was educated at Sheffield High School and the Quaker Mount School, and noted in an interview in 2009 "I am not a Quaker, of course, because I'm anti-Christian and the Quakers are a form of Christianity but their religion is wonderful – you simply sat in silence and listened to the nature of things."[2] She went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, Bryn Mawr in the United States, and Somerville College, Oxford.[3] Sister to novelist Margaret Drabble and art historian Helen Langdon, Byatt lectured in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of London University (1962–71),[4] the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and from 1972 to 1983 at University College London.[4]


The story of a young girl growing up in the shadow of a dominant father, Byatt's first novel, The Shadow of the Sun was published in 1964. Her novel The Game (1967), charts the dynamics between two sisters[4] and the family theme is continued in her quartet The Virgin in the Garden (1978), Still Life (1985), Babel Tower (1996) and A Whistling Woman (2002), Still Life winning the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award in 1989.[4] Her quartet of novels is inspired by D. H. Lawrence, particularly to The Rainbow and Women in Love. Describing mid-20th-century Britain, the books follow the life of Frederica Potter, a young female intellectual studying at Cambridge at a time when women were heavily outnumbered by men at that university, and then tracing her journey as a divorcée with a young son making a new life in London. Byatt says some of the characters in her fiction represent her "greatest terror which is simple domesticity [...] I had this image of coming out from under and seeing the light for a bit and then being shut in a kitchen, which I think happened to women of my generation."[2] Like Babel Tower, A Whistling Woman touches on the utopian and revolutionary dreams of the 1960s. She describes herself as "a naturally pessimistic animal": "I don't believe that human beings are basically good, so I think all utopian movements are doomed to fail, but I am interested in them."[2]

She has written critical studies of Iris Murdoch, who was a friend, mentor and a significant influence on her own writing. In those books and other works, Byatt alludes to, and builds upon, themes from Romantic and Victorian literature.[4] She conceives of fantasy as an alternative to, rather than an escape from, everyday life, and it is often difficult to tell when the fantastic in her work actually represents the eruption of psychosis. "In my work", she notes "writing is always so dangerous. It's very destructive. People who write books are destroyers."[2] Possession (1990) parallels the emerging relationship of two contemporary academics with the past of two (fictional) nineteenth century poets whom they are researching. It won the Man Booker Prize in 1990 and was made into a film in 2002. Byatt's novel Angels & Insects also became a successful film, nominated for an Academy Award (1995). The Children's Book was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize[4] and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Also known for her short stories, Byatt has been influenced by Henry James and George Eliot as well as Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, and Robert Browning, in merging realism and naturalism with fantasy. Her story collections include Sugar and Other Stories (1987); The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (1994), a collection of fairy tales; Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice (1998); and Little Black Book of Stories (2003). The Matisse Stories, (1993) features three pieces, each describing a painting by Henri Matisse, each the tale of an initially smaller crisis that shows the long-present unravelling in the protagonists’ lives. Her books reflect a continuous interest in zoology, entomology and Darwinism among other repeated themes. Byatt has written for media including the British journal Prospect, The Guardian, The Times and the Times Literary Supplement.[4] She has been a judge on many literary award panels including the Hawthornden Prize, the Booker, David Higham Prize for Fiction, and the Betty Trask Award.

On the role of writing in her life, she says: "I think of writing simply in terms of pleasure. It's the most important thing in my life, making things. Much as I love my husband and my children, I love them only because I am the person who makes these things. I, who I am, is the person that has the project of making a thing. Well, that's putting it pompously – but constructing. I do see it in sort of three-dimensional structures. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all these people."[2]

Personal life

A. S. Byatt married Ian Charles Rayner Byatt in 1959 and had a daughter, as well as a son who was killed in a car accident at the age of 11. The marriage was dissolved in 1969. She has two daughters with her second husband Peter John Duffy.[2]

Byatt has famously been long engaged in a feud with her novelist sister Margaret Drabble over the writerly appropriation of a family tea-set. The pair seldom see each other and don't read each other's books.[5]

Member of

  • 1974–77 Social Effects of Television Advisory Group BBC
  • 1977–82 Associate of Newnham College, Cambridge
  • 1978–84 Board of Communications and Cultural Studies, CNAA
  • 1985–87 Board of Creative and Performing Arts, CNAA
  • 1987–88 Kingman Committee of Inquiry into the teaching of English Language, (Department of Education and Science)
  • 1984–88 Management Committee, Society of Authors, (Deputy Chairman, 1986, Chairman, 1986–88);
  • 1993–98 Board, British Council, (Member of Literature Advisory Panel, 1990–98).

Prizes and awards


  • 1964 The Shadow of the Sun, Chatto & Windus
  • 1965 Degrees of Freedom: The Early Novels of Iris Murdoch, Chatto & Windus
  • 1967 The Game, Chatto & Windus
  • 1970 Wordsworth and Coleridge in Their Time, Nelson
  • 1976 Iris Murdoch: A Critical Study, Longman
  • 1978 The Virgin in the Garden, Chatto & Windus
  • 1985 Still Life, Chatto & Windus
  • 1987 Sugar and Other Stories, Chatto & Windus
  • 1989 Unruly Times: Wordsworth and Coleridge, Poetry and Life, Hogarth Press
  • 1990 George Eliot: Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings (editor with Nicholas Warren), Penguin
  • 1990 Possession: A Romance, Chatto & Windus
  • 1991 Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings, Chatto & Windus
  • 1992 Angels & Insects, Chatto & Windus
  • 1993 The Matisse Stories, Chatto & Windus
  • 1994 The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, Chatto & Windus
  • 1995 Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers (with Ignes Sodre), Chatto & Windus
  • 1995 New Writing Volume 4 (editor with Alan Hollinghurst), Vintage
  • 1997 Babel Tower, Chatto & Windus
  • 1997 New Writing Volume 6 (editor with Peter Porter), Vintage
  • 1998 Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice, Chatto & Windus
  • 1998 Oxford Book of English Short Stories (editor), Oxford University Press
  • 2000 On Histories and Stories: Selected Essays, Chatto & Windus
  • 2000 The Biographer's Tale, Chatto & Windus
  • 2001 Portraits in Fiction, Chatto & Windus
  • 2001 The Bird Hand Book (with photographs by Victor Schrager), Graphis Inc. (New York)
  • 2002 A Whistling Woman, Chatto & Windus
  • 2003 Little Black Book of Stories, Chatto & Windus
  • 2009 The Children's Book, Chatto & Windus
  • 2011 Ragnarok: The End of the Gods, Canongate


External links

Источник: A. S. Byatt

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