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Possession: A Romance (1990)

de A.S. Byatt

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
11,623262400 (4.02)778
As a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets uncover their letters, journals, & poems, & trace their movements from London to Yorkshire-and from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany-an extraordinary counterpoint of passions & ideas emerges. An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. This tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets became a huge bookseller favorite, and then on to national bestellerdom. Winner of England's Booker Prize, a coast-to-coast bestseller, and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is a novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and a triumphant love story. Revolving around a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets, Byatt creates a haunting counterpoint of passion and ideas.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perlitxt, AnnaGS, spicelib, biblioteca privada, ekrst, LorWil, BECSCEB, tepiduck
Biblioteques llegadesGillian Rose
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    KayCliff: The story, "Precipice-encurled" can be seen as a sort of paradigm of 'Possession'.
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(Mira totes les recomanacions 21)

1990s (5)
My TBR (13)
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» Mira també 778 mencions

Anglès (239)  Neerlandès (4)  Alemany (4)  Castellà (4)  Italià (3)  Finès (2)  Francès (1)  Portuguès (Portugal) (1)  Suec (1)  Totes les llengües (259)
Es mostren 1-5 de 259 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Oh boy, it seems Virgin in the Garden wasn’t large enough of a stage for Byatt to perform her one-woman show of intellectual capacity. 12 years later, she’s back with Possession a Booker-winning novel about writers infatuated with writers.

There’s a story here so that Byatt has an excuse for her unabashed attempt to be clever. A mediocre scholar, languishing in the pits of academia and personal finance discovers documents about a the life of a famous poet which lead him on a trail through literature and landscape. On the way, he teams up with a female scholar of much higher standing, by which plot device, he has access to all sorts of things he otherwise wouldn’t.

Implausible hunches turn out, in pretty much every case, to be correct and of course there are some rival academics who are far less virtuous who they have to beat to the holy grail. The ending is all tied up nicely in very few pages which is entirely predictable for a novel which is after all, not really about the plot, but an opportunity for the novelist to dabble in a wide range of literary genres while parading her impressive grasp of the breadth of English literature.

The result of constructing the foundation of a thriller and then proceeding to build a metaphysical paeon to poetry was, for me, less than satisfying. The thriller is a bit of a mess with characters who are really no more than charicatures and a denouement which is extremely contrived. The life and loves of Henry Ash, the poet that Byatt creates, would have sufficed on its own even with the long-winded and tedious poetry that litters the book. But the two parts together simply get in each other’s way.

There’ll be a lot in here that the die-hard literature fan will go for. I found it overblown. ( )
  arukiyomi | Dec 27, 2020 |
I'm reading all the Booker Prize winners. Follow me at www.methodtohermadness.com

Lucky me: two awesome books in a row. I don’t often use the phrase “tour de force,” but Possession is one. Ms. Byatt has written two love stories from the points of view of two authors, several diarists, and multiple critics, and has given each his or her own unique literary voice.

The story begins when poor Roland Michell, the epitome of the starving graduate student, finds two rough drafts of a letter. They are from the poet he has devoted his studies to, Randolph Ash, to a woman whose very existence is unsuspected by biographers and critics. He soon finds the intended audience was a certain Christobel LaMotte, also a writer, and sets off on a quest to discover if the correspondence ever went beyond the intriguing drafts.

Roland finds the LaMotte specialist, Maud Bailey, and the chase is on. It’s a literary mystery in which the contemporary couple mirror and parallel the nineteenth-century writers -- Roland/Randolph, Maud/LaMotte -- yet with some surprising differences and twists, as well.

Byatt is a master poet and storyteller. I looked forward every day to returning to this book, and savored the end. It is a careful collage of texts about reading, writing, and literary studies, but also about men, women, love -- and possession. ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
Yes, I must confess my initial dismissal of this novel (10 years ago) has evolved quite a lot, from 2 stars to a solid 4 stars. Marvellous stuff that is far warmer than perhaps I gave it credit for in my nebbishly intellectual youth. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Roland Michell seems to be at a dead end. He has a newly minted PhD, having continued research for his mentor on Randolph Ash, a Victorian poet. But it’s unlikely Roland’s mentor will offer him a job, and Roland’s marriage is failing. His wife resents having given up her own literary career to support them both.

Then Roland, doing a bit of research in a rare book room, finds a book that once belonged to the great poet himself. It has undiscovered marginalia – handwritten notes in the margins - and an original letter to an unknown lover. Somehow, against all his training, Roland steals the letter and embarks on his own research.

He is led to Maud Bailey, a researcher specializing in Victorian “fairy poetess” Christabel La Motte. Although La Motte’s works are fairly obscure, she is renowned in feminist literary circles for having a long-term lesbian relationship in the Victorian era. But what caused her lover to take her own life?

Roland and Maud’s quest for information lead them to a derelict mansion, rocky coasts, and even a séance. And eventually, they also discover each other. All the time they know their shocking discoveries cannot remain their own and must belong to the world of research and whichever of the tangled heirs truly own the papers and the story.

This novel took a while for me to warm up to and enjoy. There are two alternating time periods- the Victorian and the current mystery which at times reads almost like a detective novel.

The Victorian prose and poetry were hard for me to read and keep my attention “Oh No! Here comes another chapter of Roland Ash’s poetry!” I would moan to myself. But by halfway through the book, I was caught in the story and found it very satisfying after all. Still, I can’t see myself rereading it anytime soon. ( )
  streamsong | Oct 3, 2020 |
Self reverential. Too much work. My new rule is give it 100 pages. I gave this more but it's supposed to be fun at this point in my life. Good writer, obtuse overly academic subject matter. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 259 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This is a romance, as the subtitle suggests, but it's a romance of ideas — darkly intricate Victorian ideas and modern academic assembly-line ideas. The Victorian ideas get the better of it.
 
Shrewd, even cutting in its satire about how literary values become as obsessive as romantic love, in the end, “Possession” celebrates the variety of ways the books we possess come to possess us as readers.
 
I won't be so churlish as to give away the end, but a plenitude of surprises awaits the reader of this gorgeously written novel. A. S. Byatt is a writer in mid-career whose time has certainly come, because ''Possession'' is a tour de force that opens every narrative device of English fiction to inspection without, for a moment, ceasing to delight.
afegit per stephmo | editaNew York Times, Jay Parini (Oct 21, 1990)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (17 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Byatt, A.S.Autorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Alfsen, MereteTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Alopaeus, MarjaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Baardman, GerdaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dugdale, RowenaIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Galuzzi, FaustoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Johansen, KnutTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lameris, MarianTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lehto, LeeviTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Leishman, VirginiaReaderautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Nadotti, AnnaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Nyqvist, SannaEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Polvinen, MerjaEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Walz, MelanieTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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When a writer calls his work a Romance, it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain latitude, both as to its fashion and material, which he would not have felt himself entitled to assume, had he professed to be writing a Novel. The latter form of composition is presumed to aim at a very minute fidelity, not merely to the possible, but to the probable and ordinary course of man's experience. The former -- while as a work of art, it must rigidly subject itself to laws, and while it sins unpardonably so far as it may swerve aside from the truth of the human heart -- has fairly a right to present that truth under circumstances, to a great extent, of the writer's own choosing or creation. ... The point of view in which this tale comes under the Romantic definition lies in the attempt to connect a bygone time with the very present that is flitting away from us.
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne, Preface to The House of the Seven Gables
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For Isobel Armstrong
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The book was thick and black and covered with dust.
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The book was thick and black and covered with dust. Its boards were bowed and creaking; it had been maltreated in its own time. It spine was missing, or rather protruded from amongst the leaves like a bulky marker. It was bandaged about and about with dirty white tape, tied in a neat bow. … it had been exhumed from …
... the awesome Flamborough Head, where so many have met terrible deaths, in the race of water and the powerful currents - which you can almost see and hear, chuckling beneath the slap of the high waves ... The cliffs are chalky-white and carved and faceted and sliced by the elements into fantastic shapes ... One stands out to sea - raising an impotent or menacing stump -
Whitby ... a sloping town, crowding down in picturesque alleys or yards and flight after flight of stone stairs to the water - a terraced town ... The shop-fronts were old and full of romance.... There were several jewellers specialising in jet.
The Boggle Hole is a cove tucked beneath cliffs, where a beck runs down across the sand to the sea, from an old mill. They walked down through flowering lanes.... A peculiarity of that beach is the proliferation of large rounded stones which lie about ... These stones are not uniform in colour or size ...
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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As a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets uncover their letters, journals, & poems, & trace their movements from London to Yorkshire-and from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany-an extraordinary counterpoint of passions & ideas emerges. An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. This tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets became a huge bookseller favorite, and then on to national bestellerdom. Winner of England's Booker Prize, a coast-to-coast bestseller, and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is a novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and a triumphant love story. Revolving around a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets, Byatt creates a haunting counterpoint of passion and ideas.

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