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Angels & Insects
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Angels & Insects

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,663 Ratings  ·  258 Reviews
In these breathtaking novellas, A.S. Byatt returns to the territory she explored in Possession: the landscape of Victorian England, where science and spiritualism are both popular manias, and domestic decorum coexists with brutality and perversion. Angels and Insects is "delicate and confidently ironic.... Byatt perfectly blends laughter and sympathy [with] extraordinary s ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published March 29th 1994 by Vintage Books (first published 1992)
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Paul
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian-novels
A S Byatt goes back again to the Victorian era she writes about so well and has put two novellas together. “Morpho Eugenia” and “The Conjugial Angel”. Both are well written and as always Byatt makes excellent use of poetry; especially Tennyson’s In Memoriam in the second novella.
Morpho Eugenia (the Latin name for a South American moth) is about William Adamson and Amazonian explorer who has returned and is consulting with Lord Alabaster, a cleric who is also obsessed with moths, butterflies, ins
...more
Teresa
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread
*
'My name', she said, 'is Matilda. Up here at night there is no Matty. Only Matilda. Look at Me.'

The above is dialogue from the book's first novella, Morpho Eugenia, and eerily echoes a recent read of mine, which eerily echoed another novel I read not too long ago. While an overall theme of Morpho Eugenia is the dichotomy between the male protagonist's present life with a Victorian English family and his past experiences in the Amazon, Matty/Matilda is revealed as a patient, reckoning forc
...more
Michael
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Teresa
As a fourth read from her, this helps confirm Byatt as among my favorite authors. All complex, rich, and mesmerizing. This pair of novellas was published together in 1992, soon after Booker Prize winner “Possession.” The blurb on the cover did a good job hooking me (and mystifying me with semi-spoilers in distorted compression):

The shipwrecked naturalist who is the protagonist of “Morpho Eugenia” is rescued by a family whose clandestine passions come to seem as inscrutable as the behavior of ins
...more
Jonfaith
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Angels and Insects is comprised of two novellas. Morpho Eugenia is the first of such and within it, the hero states, "You may argue anything at all by analogy, Sir, and so consequently nothing." This deft piece had me cheering for Matty Crompton, a real badass, and pondering these lengthy explorations into entomology as a reflection for Victorian (or our own) folly. As noted, I saw the film almost 20 years ago and was prepared for the development which lists the plot akimbo. Such didn't leave th ...more
Anastasia
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2012
Benvenuti.
Ora.
Prendete un esemplare della sottoscritta in statuetta, miniatura, quello che vi pare, e rinchiudetela in una mini-gabbia completamente murata.
No, fermi. Prima metteteci dentro una semplice farfalla.
Noterete che alla vostra mini-Anastasia si rizzeranno i peli delle braccia, se state guardando attentamente noterete che scatta sulla difensiva e rimane immobile a guardare i minimi movimenti della compagna di cella, la farfalla, e vedete che strabuzzerà gli occhi con diversi cipigli ne
...more
Lucrezia
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entomologia e vita , e digressioni filosofiche sulla immortalità dell' anima e sulla poesia con tanto di sedute spiritiche... Patapam!

In effetti potrei limitare il mio punto di vista s questo romanzo a queste due singole righe, ma vorrei andare un pochino più a fondo ...

Come improvvisamente si decide di abbandonare le due noiosissime ore di fisica e di darsi all' entomologia: ma non verrebbe anche a voi la voglia di farlo , quando vedete che il vostro professore invece di spiegare legge le scont
...more
Kristina A
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neo-victorian
I quickly skimmed the first page of the other reader reviews of this book and discovered that my opinion in comparing the two novellas that comprise it is opposite of most readers. It seems most readers (from the top page, at least) prefer the first novella, "Morpho Eugenia" (the "Insects" section) to "The Conjugal Angel" (the "Angels" section).

For me, "Morpho Eugenia" was a little disappointing. I don't always need to be surprised by what I read, but the characters in this novella were a bit to
...more
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
A.S. Byatt, with Angels & Insects, has created a rich and complex book comprised of two medium-length novellas set in the mid-1860s and 1870s, both of which address themes important to the people of the Victorian Era. The first novella, Morpho Eugenia focuses on the relationships between a family, its friends, servants, and the natural world around them in the English countryside. The tale pivots around the study of society and nature, and then there's the tension and struggle between theolo ...more
The Eleventh Hour
Hmmm. I'm really torn about this book. On the one hand, the writing was excellent. On the other, it was very bizarre. Lots of insect imagery and themes in the first story, Morpho Eugenia. I felt it was…too much, however.

Although the writing itself was exquisite, I just think I don’t like A.S. Byatt’s style very well. She has a way of telling stories that I find to be very off-putting. She’ll start the story - getting the narrative ball rolling and making me like all of the characters - and then
...more
Vorbis
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long, long time to read this. It was dense, and had characters that seemed flat and lifeless due to being secondary to the message the author was exploring. I get that the Insects were a metaphor for mankind, but exploring that took too long and just wasn't enough to hold my interests for an entire story.

This is two stories in one, the first I pushed through and read all of, the second I started and got lost from the very first sentence. They have wings. They're doing seances (my le
...more
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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
More about A.S. Byatt...
“She sat beside him on the bench, and her presence troubled him. He was inside the atmosphere, or light, or scent she spread, as a boat is inside the drag of a whirlpool, as a bee is caught in the lasso of perfume from the throat of a flower.” 11 likes
“The hands were ivory-coloured, the skin finely wrinkled everywhere, like the crust on a pool of wax, and under it appreared livid bruises, arthritic nodes, irregular tea-brown stains. ...The flesh under the horny nails was candlvwax-coloured, and bloodless.” 3 likes
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