> Skip to content

Vivid, profound and full of original insights, On Histories and Stories is a riveting essay collection that redraws the map of the boundaries of contemporary fiction.

In her powerful opening essays - 'Fathers', 'Forefathers' and 'Ancestors' - A. S. Byatt considers the renaissance of the historical novel and discusses particularly the novel of wartime experience; the surprising variety of distant pasts that British writers have invented; and the new 'Darwinian novel'.

These afford new readings of writers from Elizabeth Bowen and Henry Green to Anthony Burgess, William Golding and Muriel Spark, and other contemporary authors, including Penelope Fitzgerald, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis and Pat Barker.

She also offers fascinating insight into her own translation of historical fact into fiction in the two novellas which make up Angels and Insects.

Reviews

Going from reference to reference in these glittering pages provides you with an essential reading-list for life

The Times

Invigorating criticism

Independent on Sunday

Biographers, as well as novelists, will find much to celebrate in a collection of essays that is so lavish with quotations from philosophers, essayists and historians... An elegant and thoughtful collection

Literary Review

Reminds us definitively that she is not only one of our best living novelists, but one of our most astute readers, too. We are lucky to have her

New Statesman

A rare and perhaps unique figure; a critic whose insights are full of a sympathetic, creative and re-creative imagination...The mind that produced splendid, strange fictions is also a first-rate critical intelligence... A writer of remarkable, broad sympathies

Observer

Read More

Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781473520493

    October 22, 2018

    Vintage Digital

    208 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
  • On Histories And Stories
    A S Byatt

    Paperback

    9780099283836

    December 7, 2001

    Vintage

    208 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au