§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: A Whistling Woman by A. S. Byatt

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Whistling Woman by A. S. Byatt

The fourth in the Quartet. Byatt continues her trend of including texts within texts. There's a partial text of Babbletower in the previous volume and in this one there's a partial text of the story that Agatha was reading to Saskia (her daughter) and Leo (Frederica's son). It's a fantasy story and Agatha's story is sort of like JK Rowling's--a single woman with a child reaches fame and fortune telling children's tales. Since Possession was also based on texts which Byatt invented and wrote herself and since the main character in The Children's Book is a woman who writes stories for each of her children, one of which is included in large chunks in the book, I have to see this text within text technique as important to Byatt (and if I were writing a dissertation on Byatt I'd start investigating that as a topic, if it's not already been done). A Whistling Woman also includes student rebellion of the 60ies in art schools and at the University of North Yorkshire (which I think Byatt made up--that's the one that the estate where the play about Elizabeth in The Virgin in the Garden took place, before it was deeded to the new university.). There's also a commune which attracts some of the intellectuals in the book as well as some of the more emotional religious types.


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