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A. S. Byatt - Author

About the Author

A.S. Byatt is internationally known as a novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990), and the quartet of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, as well as The Shadow of the Sun, The Game and The Biographer's Tale. Her latest novel, The Children's Book, is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009. She is also the author of two novellas, published together as Angels and Insects, and four collections of stories, and has co-edited Memory: An Anthology. Educated at York and Newnham College, Cambridge, she taught at the Central School of Art and Design, and was Senior Lecturer in English at University College, London, before becoming a full-time writer in 1983. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.

Featured books by A. S. Byatt

Other books by A. S. Byatt

Peacock and Vine Fortuny and Morris in Life and at Work

Peacock and Vine Fortuny and Morris in Life and at Work

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2016

This ravishing book opens a window onto the lives, designs, and passions of two charismatic artists. Born a generation apart, they were seeming opposites: Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish aristocrat thrilled by the sun-baked cultures of Crete and Knossos; William Morris, a British craftsman, in thrall to the myths of the North. Yet through their revolutionary inventions and textiles, both men inspired a new variety of art, as vibrant today as when it was first conceived. Acclaimed writer A.S. Byatt traces their genius right to the source. The Palazzo Pesaro Orfei in Venice is a warren of dark spaces leading to a workshop where Fortuny created his designs for pleated silks and shining velvets. Here he worked alongside the French model who became his wife and collaborator, including on the `Delphos' dress - a flowing gown evoking classical Greece. Morris's Red House, outside London, with its Gothic turrets and secret gardens, helped inspire his stunning floral and geometric patterns; it also represented a coming together of life and art. But it was Kelmscott Manor in the English countryside that he loved best - even when it became the setting for his wife's love affair with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Generously illustrated with the artists' beautiful designs - pomegranates and acanthus, peacock and vine - A.S. Byatt brings the visions and ideas of Fortuny and Morris dazzlingly to life.

Possession

Possession

Author: A. S. Byatt, Philip Hensher Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/10/2013

When mild-mannered and unremarkable academic Roland Mitchell stumbles upon a letter written by Victorian poet Randolph Ash to a mysterious woman with whom he seems to be infatuated, he is determined to uncover the truth. Winner of the 1990 Booker Prize, Possession defies categorization. Rich in symmetry and symbolism, brimming over with myth, poetry and fairy tale, Byatt's masterpiece is part literary detective story, part academic satire and part historical novel. At its heart, however, is a compelling romance that draws the reader into the mirrored worlds of two couples, past and present, and explores the nature of obsession, possession and love.

Virgin in the Garden

Virgin in the Garden

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 15/01/2013

In 1953, at an isolated boys' school in the Yorkshire moors, is a young teacher, Alexander Wedderburn, whose imagination had been captured by the Queen Elizabeth of Shakespeare and Spenser and who has written an historical verse play about her. Now, suddenly, his play has been taken up by a wealthy patron of the arts who envisions its production on the most magnificent scale, for it is to be the climax of a local festival honoring the new Queen Elizabeth. The novel holds us in suspense as it carries us to the great event of the play itself-in its Midsummer-Night's atmosphere of dream, of magic, of transforming revelry-that will alter forever the course of all the characters' lives.

Ragnarok

Ragnarok

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 07/02/2012

Ragnark retells the finale of Norse mythology. A story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves. Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so A.S. Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory. As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Godsa book of ancient Norse mythsand her inner and outer worlds are transformed. How could this child know that fifty years on many of the birds and flowers she took for granted on her walks to school would become extinct? War, natural disaster, reckless gods and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that A.S. Byatt weaves into this most timely of books.

Game

Game

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 02/11/2011

When they were little girls, Cassandra and Julia played a game in which they entered an alternate world modeled on the landscapes of Arthurian romance. Now, the sisters are grown and have become hostile strangers-until a figure from their past, a man they once both loved and suffered over, reenters their lives. It is the skittish, snake-obsessed Simon who draws Julia and Cassandra into his charismatic orbit...and into menacing proximity to each other, their discarded selves, and the game that neither of them has completely forgotten. What ensues is both shocking and as inevitable as a classical tragedy.

On Histories and Stories Selected Essays

On Histories and Stories Selected Essays

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/03/2010

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.

Matisse Stories

Matisse Stories

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 29/10/2009

In this elegant set of stories, three modern women are touched in different ways by the paintings of Henri Matisse. In "e;Medusa's Ankles,"e; a distinguished translator visits a hair salon hoping to regain a hint of her youthful looks. Hung on the wall before her is one of Matisse's iconic portraits. In "e;Art Works,"e; the three inhabitants of one household-a generous wife, her petulant husband, and their regal housekeeper-make very different artists. And in "e;The Chinese Lobster,"e; a self-tortured, anorexic art student confronts the smug opulence of Matisse's nudes while pondering suicide.

Children's Book

Children's Book

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 06/10/2009

Shortlisted for the Man Booker PrizeA spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prizewinning author of Possession, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers around a famous childrens book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.When Olive Wellwoods oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museuma talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olives magical talesshe takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country houseand the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven childrenconceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. As these livesof adults and children alikeunfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.Taking us from the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, The Childrens Book is a deeply affecting story of a singular family, played out against the great, rippling tides of the day. It is a masterly literary achievement by one of our most essential writers.From the Hardcover edition.

Possession A Romance

Possession A Romance

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/08/2009

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems, they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.

Angels & Insects

Angels & Insects

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 23/04/2009

In two breathtakingly accomplished novellas, A. S. Byatt explores the landscape of Victorian England, where science and spiritualism are both popular manias and domestic decorum coexists with brutality and perversion. In "e;Morpho Eugenia"e;, a shipwrecked naturalist is rescued by a wealthy family and immediately falls for the eldest daughter. But before long the family's clandestine passions come to seem as inscrutable as the behavior of insects. In "e;The Conjugial Angel,"e; a circle of fictional mediums finds itself haunted by the ghost of a very real historical personage. Angels & Insects offers further proof of Byatt's prodigious powers and magical sympathy for characters who might have been our great-great-grandparents.

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/03/2009

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories , edited by A. S. Byatt, herself the author of several collections of short stories, is the first anthology to specifically take the English short story as its theme. The 37 stories featured here are selected from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from Dickens, Trollope, and Hardy to J. G. Ballard, Angela Carter, and Ian McEwan, though many draw ingeniously from the richness of earlier English literary writing. There are all sorts of threads of connection and contrast running through these stories. Their subjects vary from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the momentous to the trivial, from the grim to the farcical. There is English empiricism, English pragmatism, English starkness, English humour, English satire, English dandyism, English horror, and English whimsy. There are examples of social realism, from rural poverty to blitzed London; ghost stories and tales of the supernatural; surreal fantasy and science fiction. There are stories of sensibility, precisely delineated, from Hardy's reluctant bride to the shocked heroine of Elizabeth Taylor's The Blush, from H. E. Bates's brilliant fusion of class, sex, death, and landscape, to D. H. Lawrence's exploration of a consciousness slowly detaching itself from its world. There are exuberant stories by Saki and Waugh, Wodehouse and Firbank, with a particularly English range from high irony to pure orchestrated farce. The very range and scope of the collection celebrates the eccentric differences and excellences of English short stories. Some of A. S. Byatt's choices clearly take their place in the grand tradition of story-telling, while others are more unusual. Many break all the rules of unity of tone and narrative, appearing to be one kind of story before unexpectedly turning into another. They pack together comedy and tragedy, farce and delicacy, elegance and the grotesque, with language as various as the subject matter. As A. S. Byatt explains: 'My only criterion was that those stories I selected should be startling and satisfying, and if possible make the hairs on the neck prickle with excitement, aesthetic or narrative'.

Possession A Romance

Possession A Romance

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2007

The perfect gift for Valentine's Day Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.

Whistling Woman

Whistling Woman

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/2007

This triumphant conclusion to A. S. Byatt's great quartet of postwar English life and manners stands on its own as a magical and thought-provoking novel of ideas made flesh. Frederica, the spirited heroine of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower, falls almost by accident into a career in television in London, while tumultuous events in her home county of Yorkshire threaten to split her world. In the late 1960s, the languages of religion, myth, and fairy tale overlap with the terms of science and the new computer age. The meaning of love itself seems to vanish and people flounder, often comically, while searching for their true sexual, intellectual, and emotional identities. Through her wayward, lovingly drawn characters and breathtaking twists of plot, A. S. Byatt illuminates the effervescence of intellectual and social life in 1960s Britain.

A Whistling Woman

A Whistling Woman

Author: A. S. Byatt Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2003

It is 1968 and Frederica Potter is surprised to find herself embarking on a new career in television. While she endeavours to navigate this fast-paced and occasionally bewildering industry, her lover John takes up a post working with a pair of unusual scientists. Yet in Frederica's home county of Yorkshire, tumultuous events are unfolding. Soon her future, and that of the people closest to her, begins to look rather different. THE FOURTH FREDERICA POTTER NOVEL

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https://www.asbyatt.com/

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