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Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings by…
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Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings (original 1993; edition 1993)

by A. S. Byatt (Author)

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358273,420 (3.8)5
In Passions of the Mind, A S Byatt writes as an artist and scholar taking the reader on a journey of discovery as she explores the ideas, images and attitudes to language underpinning some of her own ficiton, and also the work of Great Victorians and a varied range of twentieth century women writers. Fascinated by the coincidence of the symbolic and real which she finds in her favourite writers - Robert Browning, George Eliot and Wallace Stevens - A S Byatt also celebrates this quality in the sun and shados of Van Gogh's painting.… (more)
Member:harrisoncotis
Title:Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings
Authors:A. S. Byatt (Author)
Info:Vintage (1993), Edition: Reprint, 332 pages
Collections:Literary Criticism, Your library
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Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings by A.S. Byatt (1993)

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A collection of literary essays and reviews which show Byatt's intellectual acuity and thoughtful approach to literature. However, the highly diverse sources for these essays produce such a wide variety that is is hard to know who this book is aimed at. A good share of it will be of interest only to academic professionals, assuming as they do, a wide range of familiarity with, and instant recall of literature, critical theory, and philosophy. Byatt is one of those people who seems to have read everything and to remember everything that she has read. Some of the chapters on individual authors and books will be of interest to intellectually inclined general readers. ( )
1 vote sjnorquist | Aug 21, 2014 |
Read 2021. ( )
  sasameyuki | Apr 27, 2021 |
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Novelists sometimes claim that their fiction is a quite separate thing from their other written work.
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[In Virgin in the Garden] I wanted both to demythologise my novel and to describe the demythologising of the Church in the novel. I am afraid of, and fascinated by, theories of language as a self-referring system of signs, which doesn't touch the world. I am afraid of, and resistant to, artistic stances which say we explore only our own subjectivity.
I don't know how much is known about the difference between those who *think* with mental imagery and those who don't. I very much do--I see any projected piece of writing or work as a geometric structure: various colours and patterns.
Barbara Pym’s novel An Academic Question was begun in 1970, in a mistaken attempt to write something ‘sharp’ and ‘swinging’ about a provincial university. . . . The result is thin and unappealing.
Everyone in Pym’s books is cut down to size, no less ruthlessly because she is so deceptively mild. It is one way of looking at the world, stoical and ironic. It is part of our contemporary English aimlessness and gloom.
I do believe language has denotative as well as connotative powers.
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In Passions of the Mind, A S Byatt writes as an artist and scholar taking the reader on a journey of discovery as she explores the ideas, images and attitudes to language underpinning some of her own ficiton, and also the work of Great Victorians and a varied range of twentieth century women writers. Fascinated by the coincidence of the symbolic and real which she finds in her favourite writers - Robert Browning, George Eliot and Wallace Stevens - A S Byatt also celebrates this quality in the sun and shados of Van Gogh's painting.

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