A. S. Byatt: Art, Authorship, Creativity by C. Franken

By C. Franken

This e-book considers the paintings of the novelist and critic A.S. Byatt within the context of latest debates approximately artwork, authorship, creativity, and gender. A.S. Byatt emerges as an writer who provides us with attention-grabbing and ambivalent pictures of writers and who makes use of metaphors of creativity in unique methods.

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Byatt and F. R. Leavis’s reception of Eliot’s work is that Eliot is the kind of intellectual and writer A. S. Byatt identifies strongly with as a woman and a writer. It goes further than appreciation – love is a more adequate word for it – and Byatt expresses it unreservedly. In the same Late Show both Claire Tomalin and A. S. Byatt were visibly proud of George Eliot. Tomalin explained why ‘every intellectual woman warms to George Eliot’, 26 A. S. Byatt A. S. Byatt criticized one-dimensional portraits of Eliot as a writer who is serious, moralistic and too intelligent.

Byatt writes that she felt a ‘vague dissatisfaction’ with Bowen and Lehmann’s work at that time, she is in fact far more explicit about her rejection of their fiction: ‘there is no female art I can think of that is like what I wanted to do’ (p. 11 In this sense the young A. S. 14 This is the image of the aspiring writer to emerge from the foreword to The Shadow of the Sun: the young writer A. S. Byatt closes herself off from literary tradition and as an ambitious woman has difficulties in constructing her identity as a novelist in the 1950s – so much so that 30 years later these difficulties strongly dominate her feminist memories of her beginnings.

83 This is the reason she often refers to Virginia Woolf’s concept of androgyny: As a sixteen-year old I’d sat in the coal-hole of my boardingschool in the small hours reading A Room of One’s Own by the light of the coal-furnace I’d illegitimately opened. At sixteen I’d seen it as a plea for female independence, and so it was. It was a The Turtle and Its Adversaries 29 light in my darkness. But in my twenties and thirties I found myself more and more returning to Virginia Woolf’s elegant dictum ‘it is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex’ .

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