A. S. Byatt

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Byatt, A. S.

(Antonia Susan Byatt) (bī`ət), 1936–, British novelist; sister of Margaret DrabbleDrabble, Margaret,
1939–, English novelist, b. Sheffield, Yorkshire; sister of A. S. Byatt. Drabble's rigorous and unsentimentally realistic vision of an England split between traditional values and contemporary desires is apparent in such works as The Millstone
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. Educated at Cambridge, Bryn Mawr College, Pa., and Oxford, she is a noted critic and novelist whose work is erudite, subtle, and passionate. Her best-known novel, Possession (1989)—at once a mystery, a work of Victorian literary scholarship, a romance, and a philosophical inquiry into the nature of love—won the Booker Prize. Byatt's other fiction includes a quartet of novels, The Virgin in the Garden (1978), Still-Life (1985), Babel Tower (1996), and A Whistling Woman (2002), centered around a Yorkshire family and exploring modern English life. Her novella Angels and Insects (1992) and her novel The Biographer's Tale (2001) both examine Victorian times with a contemporary sensibility, while her sweeping later novel, The Children's Book (2009), tells of a writer, her family, and the wider world during years from the late 19th cent. through World War I. Byatt is also known for studies of Iris MurdochMurdoch, Dame Iris
(Dame Jean Iris Murdoch) , 1919–99, British novelist and philosopher, b. Dublin, Ireland, grad. Oxford (1942). In 1948 she was named lecturer in philosophy at Oxford, and in 1963 she was made an honorary fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford.
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 (1965, 1976) and other literary essays, e.g., Passions of the Mind (1992) and On Histories and Stories (2000); short stories, e.g., Matisse Stories (1993), Elementals (1999), and Little Black Book of Stories (2004); and fairy tales (1997).

Bibliography

See studies by K. C. Kelly (1996), A. Alfer and M. J. Noble, ed. (2001), C. Franken (2001), L. Hadley (2008), and L. Steveler (2009).