Penelope Fitzgerald

Hugh Adlington

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ISBN: 9781786946218

Publication: July 30, 2018

Series: Writers and their Work

Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) has been acclaimed as one of the finest British novelists of the late twentieth century. Four of her novels were shortlisted for the Booker Prize and one of them, Offshore (1979), won; her final work of historical fiction, The Blue Flower (1995), won the US National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Fitzgerald’s works are distinguished by their acute wit, deft handling of emotional tone and an unsentimental yet deeply felt commitment to portraying the lives of those men, women and children ‘who seem to have been born defeated’. Admirers have long recognised the brilliance of Fitzgerald’s writing, yet the deceptive simplicity of her style invariably leads readers to ask, ‘How is it done?’ This book seeks to answer that question, providing the first sustained exposition of Penelope Fitzgerald’s compositional method, working both inwards from the surface of her writing and outwards from the archival evidence of Fitzgerald’s own drafts and working papers.

Hugh Adlington is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Birmingham where he teaches English Literature across all periods and genres. He is editor (with Peter McCullough and Emma Rhatigan) of The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (2011) and editor (with Tom Lockwood and Gillian Wright) of Chaplains in Early Modern England: Literature, Patronage and Religion (2013). He is editing volume 2 of the Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, and is writing a monograph, John Donne’s Books: Reading, Writing, and the Uses of Knowledge.


Acknowledgements ix

Biographical Outline xi

Abbreviations and References xiii


Introduction 1

1 Critical Writing 9

2 Biographies 21

Edward Burne-Jones 22

The Knox Brothers 26

Charlotte Mew and Her Friends 32

3 Early Novels 36

The Golden Child 37

The Bookshop 42

Offshore 48

Human Voices 54

At Freddie’s 60

4 Late Novels 67

Innocence 69

The Beginning of Spring 78

The Gate of Angels 87

The Blue Flower 93

5 Short Stories, Poems, Letters 101

6 Reputation and Influence 113

Appendix: Uncollected and Unattributed Poems 118

Notes 120

 Select Bibliography 132

Index 143

Format: Ebook

Size: 216 × 138 mm

168 Pages

ISBN: 9781786946218

Publication: July 30, 2018

Series: Writers and their Work

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