A.S. Byatt

Critical storytelling

By Alexa Alfer

A.S. Byatt


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-8477-9482-6
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.19 (incl. VAT)
  • Published Date: January 2013
  • BIC Category: Literature: history & criticism, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Ireland, Literature, United Kingdom, Great Britain, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
  • Series: Contemporary British Novelists


This comprehensive study of A. S. Byatt's work spans virtually her entire career and offers insightful readings of all of Byatt's works of fiction up to and including her Man-Booker-shortlisted novel The Children's Book (2009). The authors combine an accessible overview of Byatt's ouvre to date with close critical analysis of all her major works. Uniquely, the book also considers Byatt's critical writings and journalism, situating her beyond the immediate context of her fiction. The authors argue that Byatt is not only important as a storyteller, but also as an eminent critic and public intellectual. Advancing the concept of 'critical storytelling' as a hallmark of Byatt's project as a writer, the authors retrace Byatt's wide-ranging engagement with both literary and critical traditions. This results in positioning Byatt in the wider literary landscape. This book has broad appeal, including fellow researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, plus general enthusiasts of Byatt's work.


It is the great merit of this volume that this ideal of scholarship is embodied in a slim, well-written book on one of Britain's most prolific and interesting writers. Alfer and Edwards de Campos thus succeed in presenting a study that is accessible to the heterogeneous audience they address and which includes researchers, undergraduates, postgraduates and "general enthusiasts" (dust jacket) alike. This is no mean feat, especially when it comes to a complex and often difficult writer like A.S. Byatt.'
Sarah Heinz, Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies, 01/03/2012

'(A.S. Byatt) is an important contribution to the growing body of critical work on this central figure in contemporary British fiction.'
Years Work in English Studies, vol 91, no 1, 2012

'A.S.Byatt: Critical Storytelling goes far beyond the scope of an introductory reader as it exhaustively surveys the substantial critical literature on Byatt, and does an impressive job of contextualizing the novels in the wider critical and cultural sphere of twentieth and twenty-first-century Britain.'
Sylvia Karastathi, ZAA Redaktion, 60.4 (2012)


Introduction 1. Fathers, Sisters and the Anxiety of Influence: The Shadow of the Sun and The Game 2. Writing the Contemporary: The Virgin in the Garden and Still Life 3. Two Cultures: Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman 4. Tradition and Transformation: Possession and Fairy Tales 5. The Dark Side of the Tale: The Children's Book, The Biographer's Tale and Angels and Insects Critical Storytelling: Peopling the Paper House Bibliography


Alexa Alfer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern and Applied Languages at the University of Westminster Amy Edwards de Campos completed her doctorate at Worcester College, Oxford, and now works at the University of East London

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