A. S. Byatt (1936– ). Rose to fame with Possession (1990), a novel tracing the fortunes of two couples, one from the 19th century and the other from the 20th. In both her fiction and her critical writings, she is fascinated by relationships between past and present. Byatt was born in Yorkshire, and she later attended both Oxford and Cambridge. Aside from Possession, she is best known for Angels and Insects (1992), a book consisting of two stories set in the Victorian Age, and for a series of four novels dealing with the life of Frederica Potter, a character who seems in many ways to resemble Byatt herself. The novels in this series are The Virgin in the Garden (1978), Still Life (1985), Babel Tower (1996), and A Whistling Woman (2002). Byatt has also published two critical studies of Iris Murdoch and a book on the Romantic poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Of particular interest to us is another recent volume, On Histories and Stories (2000), in which she says, “narration is as much part of human nature as breath and the circulation of blood.” Byatt’s sister is the novelist Margaret Drabble.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]