By C. Franken
This e-book considers the paintings of the novelist and critic A.S. Byatt within the context of up to date debates approximately paintings, authorship, creativity, and gender. A.S. Byatt emerges as an writer who provides us with attention-grabbing and ambivalent photographs of writers and who makes use of metaphors of creativity in unique methods.
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Additional resources for A. S. Byatt: Art, Authorship, Creativity
64 Leavis reserves his unqualiﬁed admiration for George Eliot’s portrait of Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda. Gwendolen is an example of Eliot’s art at its ‘maturest’, a compliment reinforced by Leavis’s comparison with Henry James’s Isobel Archer in Portrait of a Lady. 65 This seems to counteract my argument that Leavis shrinks back at what he sees as the ‘feminine quality’ of Eliot’s writing. Here he seems to see it as a positive aspect of her ‘genius’. 66 Eliot judges Gwendolen’s preoccupation with self severely according to Leavis and, therefore, her vision of Gwendolen is more complete, disinterested and realistic than Henry James’s ‘indulgence’ towards Isabel Archer.
Here again one hears two voices. There is a voice in her work which consistently criticizes feminist literary theorists for the ways in which they use the concept of ‘female identity’ – a voice which defends a liberal humanist reaction to feminism. The other voice agrees that the concept of ‘female identity’ can be relevant to literary criticism. A light in my darkness: gender disruption and feminist ambivalence Let me begin to explain where one can ﬁnd in A. S. Byatt’s critical work a voice stressing the relevance of a concept of ‘female identity’ to literary criticism.
Byatt feels threatened by theories which postulate ‘the death of the author’ and accuses them of being aggressive towards the writer. 49 Thus, the critic in A. S. Byatt begins her lecture ‘Identity and the Writer’ with a recognition of her own intellectual afﬁnity with post-structuralist theories which criticize the paramount importance of ‘the author’. The writer in Byatt feels threatened by the same poststructuralist criticism. The step she takes to manage these opposing impulses is strikingly effective, albeit complex: she splits herself in two.