Possession Epub Ë

Doc ↠ ´ A.S. Byatt

PossessionResearching the lives of two Victorian poets As they uncover their letters journals and poems and track their movements from London to Yorkshire from spir Too much work for too little rewardI read somewhere that if you pick up a book and you're not enjoying it by either a your age if you are under 50; or b 100 minus your age if you are over 50 you should abandon it and move on There is too much to read and life is too short to be spent reading bad booksI think this applies particularly to books in that grey zone where you can tell the writer is winding up to something and the style and story has enough ooomph in it to keep you powering on despite perhaps your better judgement AS Byatt's Possession A Romance is definitely in that zone It's not that Byatt is not a good writer she is I am enjoying her eviscerating attack on the insular political world of academia with its serpent eating its tail kind of irrelevance The set up of the grad studentteaching assistanttemp couple living in a dank basement banned from the garden and feeding off of each other in passive aggressive co dependency was well pretty much perfect and hit a little close to home The send up of feminist scholarship is pricelessBut it's all a little too much to wade through for just a taste of these morsels It's too clever and too complicated by half So far I've got two major characters two minor characters a slew of tertiary characters including some that we see only through the eyes of the two major ones; two poets who are two major characters from each of whom I am getting internal monologue dialogue and painstakingly fabricated Victorian era poems letters and academic research papers reflecting all of that And these are rife with references allusions and imagery from Victorian and classical times both faux and likely real but I just can't sort it all out and right now I don't really want to Oh and we're on two continents one convincingly and one much less so I've given it to p 108 and I'm still not sure that I won't come back to it Perhaps a different season a different frame of mind This novel is likely for me like drinking single malt scotch in the summer sometimes I do but I rarely enjoy it I need a bracing cool autumn evening or a blizzardy night woodfire blazing my faithful companion Sutcliffe the Beagle by my side In other words I need to get into a rarified connoisseur's headspace and let the experience wash over me while I noodle away at it like a crosswordI will put this one back on the shelf and maybe try again in January

Book Possession

Possession Epub Ë ✓ Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets As they uncover their letters journals and poems and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairItualist séances to the fairy haunted far west of Brittany what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideasMan Booker Prize Winner 1990 “ Like many biographies this was as much about its author as its subject”AS Byatt has characters describing biography as “a form of religion a form of ancestor worship” She is a novelist who loves the academic approach to biography applied to fiction and semi fiction creating po mo metafiction that is rich in texture and research but which can be a little hard for mortals to digest There are two main timelines here a pair of Victorian poets Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte loosely based on BrowningTennyson and Christina Rossetti respectively and various modern academics who specialise in either RHA or LaMotte principally Roland Michell and Maud Bailey When a connection between the two Victorians is discovered professional rivalry and collaboration are at odds in the literary detective story that ensues That opens the possibility of modern romance to parallel the past culminating in rather ludicrous scenes in Cornwall The Great VentrilouistThat is the title of fictional Mortimer Cropper’s famous biography of fictional RHA described in the uote at the top but it applies to Byatt too The stories unfold in an impressive variety of documents and genres from different periods epic poems diaries letters lists and There are also references to real authors including Emily Dickinson and Willa CatherBut it alternates between being too self consciously clever all those uniue writing styles with the historical poems hiding clues to secrets of the past as well as triggering ripples in the modern story and too predictable plotwise propped up by stereotyped characters and clichéd situations And as well as the layers of fictional biography and wondering who is speaking on whose behalf literal ventrilouism is a recurring theme there is a seance and there is even po mo musing in this po mo book when Roland considers “partly with precise postmodernist pleasure and partly with a real element of superstitious dread that he and Maud were being driven by a plot or fate that seemed at least possibly to be not their plot or fate but that of those others” Roland also wonders why novels “do not habitually elaborate on the intense pleasure of reading” and concludes the “regressive nature of the pleasure” is to blame Too muchIn the first chapter I read this and empathised “ His own huge ignorance a grey mist in which floated or could be discerned odd glimpses of solid objects odd bits of glitter of dimes or shadows of roofs in the gloom”For example those deeply familiar with Victorian literature and especially Victorian interest in insects and jet mementoes would gain from this than I managedNevertheless this novel is a brilliant achievement Parts of it are moving inspiring thought provoking and educational And yet there was a disconnect between me and the words The researchers were possessed but I was not Overall I found to admire than to love But I suspect the failing is mine than Byatt’sHow Does Byatt Categorise Herself?The uote at the top of this review is true of this novel as well as the fictional biography it is describing Cropper’s one of RHA But what does Byatt think of herself and her works I wonder?She wrote in RHA’s letter to LaMotte“ The difference between poets and novelists is this that the former write for the life of the language and the latter write for the betterment of the world”Here Byatt proves she is bothThoughts on Possession and LoveAfter writing my review I turned to those of friends In her excellent review here Dolors asks Does love inevitably imply possession?That is a huge and profound uestion deserving deep thought My initial reaction is that people often say that love implies possession whereas I think the two are mutually exclusive The possession of love does not or should not limit the freedom of the subject of that love Uncertainty can change everything and that's where fear can make one or both cling so that love risks becoming controlling than liberating The very next day a blog I subscribe to cited Kahil Gibran's famous lines in a piece about finding the balance between independence and intimacy in long term relationships Love one another but make not a bond of love let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soulsuotes about Fabric Decor and DressA Byatt trademark “He wore a long black silk dressing gown with crimson revers over black silk pyjamas crimson piped with a monogram on his breast pocket His slippers mole black velvet were embroidered in gold thread with a female head surrounded by shooting rays or shaken hair” “The stained glass worked to defamiliarise her It divided her into cold brightly coloured fires The green silk of her scarf glittered with turreted purple ridges Dust danced in a shadowy halo round her shifting head black motes in straw gold invisible solid matter appearing like pinholes in a sheet of solid color” “Leonora was resplendent and barbaric in a scarlet silk shirt and trousers faintly Oriental faintly Peruvian with woven rainbow coloured borders” “Prettily sprigged curtains hung on carved wooden rings from a brass rail Inside the front window a maidenhair fern stood in a large Minton pot On the front door painted a deep Delft blue hung a sinuous brass dolphin door knocker There were buds on the roses and a sea of forget me nots at their feet There was a frieze of bricks with moulded sunflowers between storeys Every brick breathed fresh air; each had been stripped and drenched with blow torch and high speed jet so that the house lay revealed beneath its original skin” “The bathroom tiled floor was a greyish violet With little bunches of ghostly Madonna lilies they were of Italian design on certain tiles not all These tiles extended halfway up the walls where they met a paisley vinyl paper crawling with busy suckered globules octopods sea slugs in very bright purple and pink There were toning ceramic fitments in dusty pink pottery a lavatory paper holder a tissue holder a toothmug on a plate like those huge African lip decorations a scallop shell holding pristine ovoids of purple and pink soap”Other uotes “Victorian dust a dust composed of smoke and fog particles accumulated before the Clean Air Acts” “She was dressed with unusual coherence for an academic” “Letters are a form of narrative that envisages no outcome no closure Letters tell no story because they do not know from line to line where they are going Letters finally exclude not only the reader as co writer or predictor or guesser but they exclude the reader as a reader they are written if they are true letters for a reader” “Cold air seemed to pour down the stone steps like silky snow” “She held his time she contained his past and his future” “Leonora was a kind of verbal Cleopatra creating appetite where most she satisfied” “All stories will bear telling and telling again in different ways What is reuired is to keep alive to polish And yet to add something of yours of the writer which makes all these things seem new” “In Romance women’s two natures can be reconciled enchantresses and demons or innocent angels”Byatt’s Novels of Biographers and other related booksAll four Byatt novels I’ve read are layers of fictional biography executed with varying degrees of success a writer writing about writers writing The Children's Book 4 See my review HEREPossession 3 This bookThe Biographer’s Tale 2 See my very old review HEREEven her myth based Ragnarok 4 is related as it's interwoven with the life of a child who is largely her See my review HEREI’ve also read some of her short stories most recently The Little Black Book of Stories See my review HERE Another novel of similar themes to this also 3 for me is Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent See my review HEREWord PlayThese I mostly like Ash the poet lots of dust and ashes and researchers in the basement of the BM aka The Ash Factory Possession in many forms literal and metaphorical Medusa mermaids and serpents LaMotte motte as in motte and bailey castle and motes of dust Blanche Glover LaMotte’s companion and glovesGloves lie togetherLimp and calmFinger to fingerPalm to palmWith whitest tissueTo embalmIn these uiet casesWhite hands creepWith supple stretchingsOut of sleepFingers clasp fingersTroth to kee C LaMotteCliché AlertThis may seem petty but I was so swamped by how many and how often they cropped up that I want a list for future reference StereotypesThere’s nothing inherently wrong or inaccurate? about any of these but I felt they were overdone Rich brash Americans Feminists lesbians and bisexual women Socially awkward academicsSituationsMost of these were borderline comedy that felt out of place A creepy country house needing repairs Snowed in in a remote place Car chases Near misses Convenient coincidences essential to make the plot join up Digging up a grave at night Caught in a storm Legal small print An antagonistic pair who fall in love very Mills Boon

A.S. Byatt ´ Possession Pdf

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story It is the tale of a pair of young scholars A honking great piece of literary self gratification a novel about writers all novels about writers should be given a concrete overcoat a grand excuse for A S Byatt to dazzle us with some fancy ventrilouism and yes you can feel the throb of the author's perfervid intelligence like a lawnmower hacking away at the tough grass at the edge of the lawn but after all of that you have to come clean and say that Possession isn't worth the thinnest novelette written by Raymond Chandler or the most offhand poem by e e cummings or the most obscure B side by the Beach Boys either A pure waste of time which I was suckered into by someone whose taste I had thought trustworthy so that was a lesson bitterly learnedThis book breaks one of PB's commandments Thou shalt not write a book which is a series of SOCK PUPPETS designed entirely to impress the hoi polloi at the Hay on Wye Literary festival when you read bits out to them in FUNNY VOICES