A.S. Byatt (2)

Having spent so much of the afternoon and evening listening to speeches by, or about, Antonia Byatt (A.S as she is known to her family), I have inevitably been thinking about, or reminded of, the experience of her writing:  first, The Virgin in the Garden, published in 1978, later than I thought, a long, dense, quasi-historical narrative, which starts in the National Portrait Gallery and is about much bigger issues than the domestic dramas which were previously dominant;  Possession:  A Romance, again later than I thought, published in 1990, part Victorian and winner of the Booker Prize;  then Angels and Insects, published in 1992, which was made into a film by Philip Haas.   I first met her when I asked her to lecture at the V&A in a series of Artists of the Tudor Court.   As she demonstrated today, she is a brilliant, and in some ways theatrical as well as didactic, lecturer.

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