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Imagining Characters: Six Conversations About Women Writers: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Iris Murdoch, and Toni Morrison

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In this innovative and wide-ranging book, Byatt and the psychoanalyst Ignes Sodre bring their different sensibilities to bear on six novels they have read and loved: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Bronte's Villette, George Elliot's Daniel Deronda, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Iris Murdoch's An Unofficial Rose, and Toni Morrison's Beloved. The results are nothing le In this innovative and wide-ranging book, Byatt and the psychoanalyst Ignes Sodre bring their different sensibilities to bear on six novels they have read and loved: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Bronte's Villette, George Elliot's Daniel Deronda, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Iris Murdoch's An Unofficial Rose, and Toni Morrison's Beloved. The results are nothing less than an education in the ways literature grips its readers and, at times, transforms their lives. Imagining Characters is indispensable, a work of criticism that returns us to the books it discusses with renewed respect and wonder.


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In this innovative and wide-ranging book, Byatt and the psychoanalyst Ignes Sodre bring their different sensibilities to bear on six novels they have read and loved: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Bronte's Villette, George Elliot's Daniel Deronda, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Iris Murdoch's An Unofficial Rose, and Toni Morrison's Beloved. The results are nothing le In this innovative and wide-ranging book, Byatt and the psychoanalyst Ignes Sodre bring their different sensibilities to bear on six novels they have read and loved: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Bronte's Villette, George Elliot's Daniel Deronda, Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Iris Murdoch's An Unofficial Rose, and Toni Morrison's Beloved. The results are nothing less than an education in the ways literature grips its readers and, at times, transforms their lives. Imagining Characters is indispensable, a work of criticism that returns us to the books it discusses with renewed respect and wonder.

30 review for Imagining Characters: Six Conversations About Women Writers: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Iris Murdoch, and Toni Morrison

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This was a lot of fun -- like listening in on extraordinarily erudite gossip about fictional characters.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chanson Vanessa

    This book is one of the best and most readable Literary Criticism pieces I've ever come across with. The conversation being between two women, it goes without saying that the feminist undertow figures strongly. Nothing radical is presented, at least not the in-your-face kind, although for female readers, the seemingly innocuous ideas would rightly come across as stronger than they would the casual (read: male--no offense meant) reader. In a nutshell, the two authors discuss books written by women This book is one of the best and most readable Literary Criticism pieces I've ever come across with. The conversation being between two women, it goes without saying that the feminist undertow figures strongly. Nothing radical is presented, at least not the in-your-face kind, although for female readers, the seemingly innocuous ideas would rightly come across as stronger than they would the casual (read: male--no offense meant) reader. In a nutshell, the two authors discuss books written by women, giving them a motley richness of readings--mythical, biographical, archetypal, psychoanalytic, structuralist, feminist, etc. Some of the pieces they discussed (and the ones I liked best) were George Eliot's Daniel Deronda , Charlotte Bronte's Villette and Toni Morrisson's Beloved.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirk

    I only read the conversation on Mansfield Park. Tedious.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Walter Polashenski

    Reading great discussions of great books is exhilarating and inspiring and terrifying.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luciana

    Byatt é professora e autora de romances premiados - Possessão, considerada sua obra-prima, foi um dos melhores volumes que li esse ano - e Sodré é uma psicanalista brasileira que mora há décadas na Inglaterra. Juntas, elas exploram com profundidade o universo de algumas das mais importantes escritoras da literatura ocidental - de Jane Austen a Toni Morrison - num diálogo despretensioso, mas nem por isso menos crítico. Li Imaginando Personagens pela primeira vez há quase cinco anos e, à época, dos Byatt é professora e autora de romances premiados - Possessão, considerada sua obra-prima, foi um dos melhores volumes que li esse ano - e Sodré é uma psicanalista brasileira que mora há décadas na Inglaterra. Juntas, elas exploram com profundidade o universo de algumas das mais importantes escritoras da literatura ocidental - de Jane Austen a Toni Morrison - num diálogo despretensioso, mas nem por isso menos crítico. Li Imaginando Personagens pela primeira vez há quase cinco anos e, à época, dos romances explorados por Byatt e Sodré, só conhecia o Mansfield Park. De lá pra cá, adicionei apenas Villette ao repertório, mas, mesmo assim, reli o volume de cabo a rabo. Tenho dois motivos para isso: primeiro, os seis romances debatidos nesse livro são volumosos, complexos e emocionalmente exaustivos. Não significa que não os queira ler, mas sim que preciso encontrá-los no momento certo para não acabar desistindo no meio do caminho. Segundo, porque, ainda que não tenha lido todos os livros de que elas falam, a conversa entre Byatt e Sodré é tão agradável e tão enriquecedora que avançamos com facilidade capítulo a capítulo, abrindo o apetite para o que virá a seguir e aprendendo a pensar e refletir a literatura. Para quem se interessa por boa literatura, é fã de Austen, Brontë e Elliot, quer entender um pouco do papel feminino na história literária e explorar, num tom quase intimista, mas com bastante profundidade, alguns dos mais importantes romances dos últimos dois séculos, Imaginando Personagens é uma leitura mais que recomendada: é obrigatória.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    In October 1992, both A. B. Byatt and Ignes Sodre were attending the Cheltenham Festival of Literature. Byatt, known as one of Britian's leading novelists/critic and Sodre, a Brazilian psychoanalyst who practiced in England for the thirty years, conversed over their love of literature and and a deep interest in human development. After each spoke, they thought there might be a possibility of a book. And they worked together to create this work of art. They choose six major texts from different p In October 1992, both A. B. Byatt and Ignes Sodre were attending the Cheltenham Festival of Literature. Byatt, known as one of Britian's leading novelists/critic and Sodre, a Brazilian psychoanalyst who practiced in England for the thirty years, conversed over their love of literature and and a deep interest in human development. After each spoke, they thought there might be a possibility of a book. And they worked together to create this work of art. They choose six major texts from different periods in history -- from the 19th century with Jane Austen's Mansfield Park to Charlotte Bronte's Villette to George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, to Willa Cather's The Professor's House, to Iris Murdock's An Unofficial Rose, and to Toni Morrison's Beloved, ending with Dreams and Fictions. Such an excellent book, I wish that A. S. Byatt and Ignes Sodre would also do more books similar to this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Perkins

    I was disappointed in this one. While Byatt and Sodre are unquestionably brilliant and their thoughts and insights incredibly valuable, I found this to be a very dry read. (And I am a fan of Austen, Bronte, Eliot, and Morrison)

  8. 4 out of 5

    MoonstruckJules (Giulia)

    4.5 stars!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I have to be honest – I only read three of the six essays in this book because I've only read three of the six books these two are discussing – but they were enchanting. For anyone who has ever found themselves eavesdropping on other people's conversations in coffee shops, this book has that delicious feel of being a fly on the wall while far more interesting and knowledgeable people natter on. Both authors have done great prep and the "essays" are literally transcribed conversations with a mini I have to be honest – I only read three of the six essays in this book because I've only read three of the six books these two are discussing – but they were enchanting. For anyone who has ever found themselves eavesdropping on other people's conversations in coffee shops, this book has that delicious feel of being a fly on the wall while far more interesting and knowledgeable people natter on. Both authors have done great prep and the "essays" are literally transcribed conversations with a minimum of editing. Interesting themes discussed and lots of personal impressions and feelings about the works, something I've always found lacking from high-brow lit crit. I plan to work through the other novels and check this book out of the library again to read along.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenniffer

    I have to read a few more of the novels discussed in the essays(6 I think). I have never read any George Elliot or Jane Austin(I know I should be beaten.)So it will be awhile before this moves to the read shelf.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. wear on cover; $3.99

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Marcolongo

    Makes me want to read (or re-read) these great women writers. The authors delve deeply into each author & each character they created.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    ...if only because it came in ridiculously handy when I was asked to give a paper on Women's Lit. ;) ...if only because it came in ridiculously handy when I was asked to give a paper on Women's Lit. ;)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ruben

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lora

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathe

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marcelo Joazeiro

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rowena Jones

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mikee Delony

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  27. 5 out of 5

    Imen Laameri

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Garnette

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

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