The Afterlife

PDF EBook by Penelope Fitzgerald

EBook Description

"A good book," wrote John Milton, "is the precious life- PDFblood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. The Afterlife PDF EBook" In this generous posthumous collection of her literary essays and reviews, Penelope Fitzgerald celebrates the "life beyond life" of dozens of master-spirits— download; 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.

Author Biography: Terence Dooley is a poet and the literary executor of the Estate of Penelope Fitzgerald. He lives with his wife, Penelope Fitzgerald's older daughter Tina, in Cornwall, England.

Mandy Kirkby is an editor at Flamingo, an imprint of HarperCollins UK. She lives in London.

Penelope Fitzgerald (1918-2000) is the author of 9 novels, 3 works of biography, and a posthumously published collection of short fiction. The Blue Flower won the NBCC Award for Fiction and was chosen by the editors of The New York Times Book Review as one of the eleven best books of 1997. Offshore won the Booker Prize, and three of her other novels have made the Booker short list. For almost all her life she lived in London.

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