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Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Whether she is writing about George Eliot or Sylvia Plath; Victorian spiritual malaise or Toni Morrison; mythic strands in the novels of Iris Murdoch and Saul Bellow; politics behind the popularity of Barbara Pym or the ambitions that underlie her own fiction, Byatt manages to be challenging, entertaining, and unflinchingly committed to the alliance of literature and life.
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 25th 2012 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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May 07, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Byatt writes her criticism as if she is speaking to you. The essays in this collection are all good and enterating. I enjoyed the ones about Browning, Ford, Coleridge and Van Gogh. Now, I want to re-read the books she talked about.

Of more interest to me was her essay about judging the TLS poetry competition. The essay deals with how to teaching writing and her remarks about how writing should be taught stuck a chord.
May 24, 2016 Cici rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With some exceptional insights into George Eliot's life and work, I fail to be engaged by this collection of literary critiques. Possibly due my own lapse of not having read Byatt's own work.

*** Notes and quotes***
An interesting quote: Graham Greene argues that “with the death of James the religious sense was lost to the English novel, and with the religious sense went the sense of the importance of the human act. It was as if the world of fiction had lost a dimension: the characters of such di
May 12, 2008 Garnette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my daughter
Perfectly named book about AS Byatt's own mind as well as the minds of George Eliot and the section she calls: The Female Voice (Cather, Bowen, Plath, Toni Morrison even Georgette Heyer, despite Germaine Greer's ferious dis). I especially liked her attack on Barbara Pym, although I could only stomach two Pyms, I agree with Byatt. I skimmed a lot of the Mind book: not interested or appalled by Freud, post-modernist and post-(WWII)fiction. This is a wonderful book of collected essays by a writer s ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Kajah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read half of the essays in this collection and they are, like most of Byatt's work, top notch in prose quality and quite dense. I especially appreciated her lengthy quotations (which she explains in the introduction) and her ridiculously learnéd insight into authors like Browning. I did not read the essays on authors I'm not familiar with for obvious reasons, but I'll definitely be returning to this little volume in the future
Maybe my humour when I started this; but too wordy at the time; and the topics demonstrated to me that I had not read serious literature in some time. I should try again sometime.
Jan 10, 2009 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for the Georgette Heyer essay, which is quite good. Also, great essay on Willa Cather. Unfinished due to skipping essays whose subject matter I'm unfamiliar with.
Kathleen Valentine
A must-read for any writer.
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A.S. Byatt (Antonia Susan Byatt) is internationally known for her novels and short stories. Her novels include the Booker Prize winner Possession, The Biographer’s Tale and the quartet, The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, and her highly acclaimed collections of short stories include Sugar and Other Stories, The Matisse Stories, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Ey ...more
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