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The Afterlife : Essays and Criticism - Penelope Fitzgerald

The Afterlife

Essays and Criticism

Paperback

Published: 22nd September 2004
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From the late novelist and biographer Penelope Fitzgerald, a collection of essays-almost all of them unknown to her countless American admirers-on books, travel, and her own life and work.. "A good book," wrote John Milton, "is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." In this generous posthumous collection of her literary essays and reviews, Penelope Fitzgerald celebrates the "life beyond life" of dozens of master-spirits--their afterlife not only in the pages of their works but in the minds of their readers, critics, and biographers. Here are Fitzgerald's brilliant introductions to the classics-Jane Austen's Emma, George Eliot's Middlemarch, the works of Mrs. Oliphant-as well as considerations of recent novels by Barbara Pym, Carol Shields, Roddy Doyle, and Amy Tan. Here too are reviews of several late-twentieth-century literary biographies, including Richard Holmes's Coleridge, A. N. Wilson's C. S. Lewis, and Martin Stannard's Evelyn Waugh-reviews that together form a memorable criticism both of life and the art of life-writing. And here especially are extended explorations of "minor" figures, the creators of modest, overlooked, but fully achieved imaginative works, the celebration of which reveals so much about Penelope Fitzgerald's own artistic sensibility. Among these are Charlotte Mew, "who was completely successful perhaps only two or three times, though that is enough for a lyric poet"; William Morris, the consummate craftsman who, in life as in art, was determined to do "nothing shabby"; and the cartoonists and humorists of Punch, the comic weekly of which her father, "Evoe" Knox, was for many years the editor. She confesses she admires wit, values personal and artistic courage, and feels drawn "to whatever is spare, subtle, and economical." Rounded out by travel writings, bits of autobiography, and essays on the craft of fiction, The Afterlife is one of the most engaging books about books since Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader. As the critic Hermione Lee says in an appreciative introduction, in each of these "wonderfully sympathetic, curious, and knowledgeable pieces, Penelope Fitzgerald leads us right to the heart of the matter-the feeling of a novel, the nature of a life, the understanding of how something or someone works, the sense of a place or a time"-and does so with brevity, justice, humor, grace, and style.

Introductionp. XI
Editors' Notep. XIX
Master-Spirits
Jane Austenp. 3
Emma's Fancy
William Blakep. 8
The Unfading Vision
Samuel Taylor Coleridgep. 12
Talking Through the Darkness
Sarah Orne Jewettp. 16
The News from Dunnet Landing
George Eliotp. 20
The Will to Good
Not Herself
Mrs. Oliphantp. 29
The Heart and Soul of Carlingford
The Mystery of Mrs. Oliphant
The Victoriansp. 54
Called Against His Will
The Need for Open Spaces
In the Golden Afternoon
Old Foss and Friend
The Sound of Tennyson
The June-blue Heaven
Twice-Born
William Morrisp. 75
His Daily Bread
Something Sweet to Come
"Whatever Is Unhappy Is Immoral"
Arts and Craftsp. 91
Lasting Impressions
Designs and Devices
The Gospel of Joyous Work
Rhyme and Meterp. 100
Obstacles
The Poetry Bookshop
Miss Lotti's Story
A Questioning Child
The Consolations of Housman
M. R. Jamesp. 134
Monty and His Ghosts
The World of Punchp. 141
Thin, Fat, and Crazy
Evoe's Choice
Kipper's Line
Yeats and his Circlep. 153
A Bird Tied to a String
Too Long a Sacrifice
Lily and Lolly
Monsieur Moore of Mayo
New Women and Newerp. 166
Dear Sphinx
Out of the Stream
Keeping Warm
The Real Johnny Hall
An All Right Girl
Passion, Scholarship, and Influence
Bloomsburyp. 197
A Way into Life
Breathing Together
Living Doll and Lilac Fairy
Moderns and Anti-Modernsp. 209
The Great Encourager
A Student of Obliteration
Dame Cissie
Raging Martyr
The Near and the Far
Betrayed by His Century
The Only Member of His Club
The Forties and Afterp. 236
What's Happening in the Engine Room
A Kind of Magician
The Man from Narnia
"Not at All Whimsical"
An Unforgettable Voice
Joy and Fear
"Really, One Should Burn Everything"
Precious Moments Gone
Writers and Witnesses 1980-2000
Writersp. 275
A Secret Richness
A Character in One of God's Dreams
The Great Importance of Small Things
Fried Nappy
To Remember Is to Forgive
Luck Dispensers
Watchers and Waiters
What Daisy Knew
Witnessesp. 300
Grandmother's Footsteps
A Fortunate Man
Places
The Grangep. 311
The Moorsp. 319
Canaletto's Venicep. 325
The Holy Landp. 331
Life and Letters
Curriculum Vitaep. 337
Scenes of Childhoodp. 348
Thinking of Balcombe
Well Walk
Schooldays
Aspects of Fictionp. 358
Following the Plot
Hearing Them Speak
Why I Writep. 368
How I Write: Daisy's Interviewp. 369
Coda
Last Wordsp. 379
Indexp. 385
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781582433202
ISBN-10: 1582433208
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 22nd September 2004
Publisher: Counterpoint,U.S.
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 14.61  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.57
Edition Number: 1