On Histories and Stories

On Histories and Stories

Selected Essays

Book - 2001
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As writers of English from Australia to India to Sri Lanka command our attention, Salman Rushdie can state confidently that English fiction was moribund until the Empire wrote back, and few, even among the British, demur. A. S. Byatt does, and her case is persuasive. In a series of essays on the complicated relations between reading, writing, and remembering, the gifted novelist and critic sorts the modish from the merely interesting and the truly good to arrive at a new view of British writing in our time.

Whether writing about the renaissance of the historical novel, discussing her own translation of historical fact into fiction, or exploring the recent European revival of interest in myth, folklore, and fairytale, Byatt's abiding concern here is with the interplay of fiction and history. Her essays amount to an eloquent and often moving meditation on the commitment to historical narrative and storytelling that she shares with many of her British and European contemporaries. With copious illustration and abundant insights into writers from Elizabeth Bowen and Henry Green to Anthony Burgess, William Golding, Muriel Spark, Penelope Fitzgerald, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, Hilary Mantel, and Pat Barker, On Histories and Stories is an oblique defense of the art Byatt practices and a map of the complex affiliations of British and European narrative since 1945.

Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2001, c2000
ISBN: 9780674004511
0674004515
Branch Call Number: 809.93358 B99o 2001
Characteristics: 196 p. ; 24 cm

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theorbys Dec 16, 2012

Interesting enough, and I can't help but be amazed at the breadth, and depth, of Byatt's reading. It's a quick read and a good survey of fairly recent writing, especially in English. If you are wondering what or who to read next, this panoramic, but brief, survey might be helpful.

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