Possession

Possession

A Romance

Book - 1990
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Publisher: New York : Random House, 1990
ISBN: 9780394586236
0394586239
Branch Call Number: F BYATT-A
F BYATT-A
Characteristics: p. cm

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m
Morwen
Nov 17, 2017

one of my favorite books. I have read it many times and always say, "This time I will only read the text and not the stories and poetry" or the opposite but I am always irresistibly pulled to read the whole things.

b
brangwinn
Aug 21, 2017

I chose to read this book because it was the 1990 Booker Prize winner. Did I enjoy it? Yes, but until I got about 150 pages into it, I found it easy to put down. But then, as a librarian, what’s wrong with a mystery that involves literary research in a university library? Boring, nerdy researchers as detectives, now that’s cool. Two, researchers, Roland and Maud, find a connection in the poets they are researching. The two 19th century poets were loves. Their relationship was only discovered as Roland perused a copy of a book owned by his research subject. What most fascinated me most was how the author could distinguish which part of the story took place in the Victorian age by the language which represents each period. That dexterity in language and the fact that the current research was done before the Internet and Google, was what made this book interesting.

j
JaneG
Feb 14, 2016

Two time periods, two Victorian poets and two modern day academics. A big mystery and a masterful tale. Take the time to read the Victorian poetry along with an engrossing story of societal expectations, personal realities and love. Extremely clever and a literary tour de force for Byatt.

BCD2013 May 06, 2014

Byatt not only created two sets of intriguing and emotionally involving characters in two time periods, but also created two fictional characters' bodies of poetical works.l An amazing accomplishment, a moving stoy, and an interesting message.

JCLAmandaH Feb 11, 2014

"Possession" is a love letter to literature, by way of celebrating poetry, exploring the world of academia, and presenting meditations on the meaning of words and language itself. The story follows two couples, one a pair of Victorian poets and the other two modern day scholars studying said poets. When a mysterious lost letter is found suggesting a heretofore unknown link between the two poets, our present day academics embark on a literary quest to uncover the secrets of the past. A. S. Byatt weaves such a spell with the world-building for the Victorian characters, from selections of their poetry and letters to flashbacks from their own points of view, that you might repeatedly question whether they were real historical figures or not.

JCLMeganB Oct 04, 2013

This is the book that made me love reading again after that M.A. in English fiasco!

r
rab1953
May 01, 2013

This is a complex book, with many things to comment on. In parts, it is a modern romance about contemporary (post-modern) people who don’t believe in love, but nevertheless grow into a close personal connection, with elements of possession. In others, it is a romantic passion between kindred spirits, drawn together by their feelings but forced apart by social and personal demands of the nineteenth-century middle class. This is particularly interesting when it is expressed in lengthy poems, letters and journals. At another level, it examines different kinds of academic and literary possession, with various researchers and their obsessions for understanding, reputation, completeness and personal satisfaction. And at another level, it’s a literary tour de force, looking at the joys of literature, reading and losing yourself in the creation and re-creation of literature. Byatt manages all of these in a convincing way, combining different forms of writing that give a different perspective on and relationship to each character – some creative, some academic, some poetic, some imaginative. While slow-moving in parts, there’s so much to enjoy, including even comedic and satiric bits, that its 600 pages don’t become tiresome. By the end, when it turns into a melodramatic chase story, it zips along with a what-next spirit and revelations in the salon. A post-modern work about post-modern theorists, it even manages to poke questions at post-modernism when its central figures (they are hardly heroes) fall in love while rejecting the notion of romantic love. I enjoyed this a lot, even though had I read a description of the book I might have thought it would be too literary. So, much respect to Byatt for tackling a forbidding prospect and making it a pleasure.

m
ms_mustard
Mar 13, 2013

I just read this for my book club and thought I would tear out my hair in the first 100 pages or so. then I fell in love with it. not an easy read, but well worth it, covering academic research of minutia, feminism, myth and poetry.

u
uncommonreader
Aug 01, 2012

A classic. This book is set in the present day and in Victorian times. It address the relationship between two fictious poets, complete with poems, letters, diaries, and footnotes. Byatt chooses 1869 as the point in time of great change and of loss of faith. The researchers' lives parallel that of the poets. Intelligent and wonderfully accomplished.

g
gvlee
Feb 21, 2012

Boring, boring, bored. How on earth did someone like this book so much that they made a movie out of it? I couldn't even get past the first 2 chapters.

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GailRoger
Dec 04, 2009

Young girls are sad. They like to be; it makes them feel strong.

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GailRoger
Dec 04, 2009

In his day, he said, students were grounded in spelling and had learned poetry and the Bible by heart. An odd phrase, by heart, he would add, as if poems were stored in the bloodstream.

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