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Angels And Insects


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These two Victoriana novellas are both exquisite evocations of the period and magically timeless stories, full of the humour and poetry peculiar to A. S. Byatt's prose.

About the Author

A.S. Byatt is a novelist, short-story writer and critic of international renown. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990), and the Frederica Quartet; The Children's Book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999 and is the recipient of the Erasmus Prize 2016 for her 'inspiring contribution to life writing'.


Byatt revisits the Victorian landscape of Possession in these two fluid and intricate novellas. (Apr.)

This work consists of two novellas set in the mid-19th century. The first, ``Morpho Eugenia,'' is a Gothic fable that explores the multiple themes of earthly paradise and Darwin's theories of breeding and sexuality. There is an implied parallel between insect and human society throughout. The hero, a poor, scholarly entomologist, is taken into a wealthy Victorian family. His life and loves, particularly for the daughter Eugenia and the eponymous species of butterfly, comprise this tale. The second novella, ``The Conjugal Angel,'' is reminiscent of Possession ( LJ 11/1/90), Byatt's 1990 Booker Prize winner for fiction, wherein poetry is woven into the narrative. Here, the poem is Tennyson's ``In Memoriam , '' written to mourn the death of Tennyson's friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who was engaged to the poet's sister Emily--a main character here. This is a philosophical ghost story, bizarre and comic, but since assorted mediums meet real characters, it is difficult to relate to any of them. These novellas will attract attention due to the fame of their author, but they will appeal to a very limited audience. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/92.-- Patricia C. Heaney, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, N.Y.

"Her plot is as compelling as that of a classical detective story, but it is the quality of the writing - its use and unity of metaphor, its sensuous language, its wit and intellectual playfulness - which renders it remarkable" -- Amanda Craig Literary Review "A. S. Byatt is one of our finest living novelists, who manages to tease and to satisfy both the intellect and the imagination ... I am already a convinced admirer of the works of A. S. Byatt. ANGELS & INSECTS should win over many more enthusiasts" -- Caroline Moore Daily Telegraph "Victorian and fun ... marvellous and maddening ... a display and a delight" -- Nicci Gerrard Observer "Her best work to date" Times Literary Supplement

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