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Possession: Introduction by Philip Hensher (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics)

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9780375712357: Possession: Introduction by Philip Hensher (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics)
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A. S. Byatt's beloved novel--winner of the Booker Prize and an international best seller--is a spellbinding intellectual mystery and an utterly transfixing love story.

Roland Michell and Maud Bailey are young academics in the 1980s researching the lives of two Victorian literary figures: the major poet Randolph Henry Ash and the lesser-known "fairy poetess" Christabel LaMotte. After coming across hints of a long-buried and potentially explosive secret in the poets' letters and journals, Maud and Roland join forces to track their subjects' movements from London to Yorkshire to Brittany, tracing clues embedded in poems and hunting down evidence in dusty archives and in a freshly opened grave. Their eagerness to uncover the truth draws the two lonely scholars together, but what they discover will have implications they could not have imagined.

An extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas, POSSESSION is woven throughout with invented historical documents and poetry of dazzling richness and depth, bringing Byatt's Victorian characters vividly to life. The result is both a gripping story and a brilliant exploration of the nature of love and obsession--and of what we can know about the past.

Introduction by Philip Hensher

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Review:

"Literary critics make natural detectives", says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser- known "fairy poetess" and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud's discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long- forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte's passion.

Winner of the 1990 Booker Prize, Possession is a gripping and compulsively readable novel. A.S. Byatt exquisitely renders a setting rich in detail and texture. Her lush imagery weaves together the dual worlds that appear throughout the novel--the worlds of the mind and the senses, of male and female, of darkness and light, of truth and imagination--into an enchanted and unforgettable tale of love and intrigue. --Lisa Whipple

Review:

"A combination of intellectual fireworks and magnetic readability."
--THE GUARDIAN

"An altogether magical performance . . . This is a novel for every taste: a heartbreaking Victorian love story, a take-no-prisoners comedy of contemporary academic life, and an unputdownable supernatural mystery. You turn the last page feeling stunned and elated, happy to have had the chance to read it."
--THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

"This cerebral extravaganza of a story zigzags with unembarrassed zest across an imaginative terrain bristling with symbolism and symmetries, shimmering with myth and legend, and haunted everywhere by presences of the past . . . Possession is eloquent about the intense pleasures of reading. And, with sumptuous artistry, it provides a feast of them."
--THE SUNDAY TIMES (London)

"Gorgeously written . . . Dazzling . . . A tour de force."
--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"A masterpiece of wordplay and adventure."
--LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"[Possession] remains one of the most popular and admired winners of the Booker Prize . . . [It] engages with its period through virtuoso re-creation of that past's writings in multiple forms . . . The astounding mastery of Possession lies, surely, in the confidence and sweep of its construction of those Victorian voices . . . Few, if any, novels of the time approached the past with such originality and formal daring . . . English literature of the last quarter century would look very different without it."
--from the Introduction by Philip Hensher

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780679735908: Possession (Vintage International)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0679735909 ISBN 13: 9780679735908
Publisher: Vintage, 1991
Softcover

9780099800408: Possession: A Romance

Vintage, 1991
Softcover

9780099503927: Possession: A Romance

Vintag..., 2007
Softcover

9780394586236: Possession: A Romance

Random..., 1990
Hardcover

9780679642381: Possession (Modern Library)

Random..., 2002
Hardcover

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