Talk:A. S. Byatt

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Article 2005[edit]

I was most upset to read this shallow and irrelevant entry on A.S.Byatt who is one of the foremost contemporary British authors - and not only in my personal opinion! Out of the ten or more wonderful works of fiction that she has written, only two are mentioned in passing! Out of the nine different prestigious literary prices and awards that she has received only one is mentioned. There is not a word about her masterful quartet of novels (Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, The Babel Tower,The Whistling Woman)about a Yorkshire family. Not one of her excellent short story collections (Matisse Stories, Sugar and Other Stories, Stories of Fire and Ice, etc.) is mentioned by name. Instead most of the article is like taken from a gossip column (why she quarrels with her sister and why she does not like Harry Potter!) and is not worthy of Wikipedia. Miriam

I agree with you entirely, and reworked the article to change its focus to her works. Please feel free to add what you can about these other works as is possible, as I have not read them. Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 11:46, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I added a list of her works and awards and some paragraphs in the body of the article.Miriam

It seems odd that her comments on Harry Potter are given a section almost longer than the rest of the entire article. If this "controversy" is really so important, perhaps it should be given an article of its own, otherwise it could easily be summarised in a single sentence or two, or deleted entirely. Nbear 05:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the section about her criticism of the Harry Potter novels is necessary simply because it is biographical in nature. However, I do believe that the line "She was awarded a CBE in 1990, then a DBE in 1999." doesn't belong in the section and as such I've moved it the the section about her life and career. --Pavithran 13:55, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


AS Byatt was married to Ian Byatt and now has the surname Duffy. Is this because of a second marriage? Millbanks (talk) 09:23, 7 August 2008 (UTC) Yes, it is (although I'm not sure she goes by the name Duffy, or even that she took it up), she was Antonia Drabble originally and is now married to Peter John Duffy in 1969 - see her website biography here: . Perhaps this ought to be mentioned? TrentandtheAcrobats (talk) 22:55, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

She was actually born and married (twice) as Susan Drabble. I don't know where the Antonia came from. Do a search for her birth name here:

Ravenscroft32 (talk) 20:46, 5 December 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't this part have links to their actual pages?

I agree, some of them redirect to this page, while others take you to pages about the novel. I will take out these links, and they can be put back when a page is set up. Baldwin Clere (talk) 09:48, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

weasel words/assertion of acclaim[edit]

It seems to me that there are no weasel words in saying that someone has been hailed as one of the living greats (or dead, or was at the time, or is locally acclaimed or controversially claimed, etc etc etc)--it may be false or interpolated for biased purposes in particular cases, but here, I think is is fair to say that she has been acclaimed as great from quarters whose opinion weighs in. Clown in black and yellow 21:23, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Please read the Verifiability policy, as well as the Avoid Weasel Words Avoid Peacock Terms sections on the Manual of Style. If you believe that A S Byatt has been generally hailed, by people considered to have authority on the subject, as one of the great postmodern authors, you should have no trouble in naming two or three specific people who have done so. When they have been supplied, it can be mentioned who these people are, and exactly what they described Ms Byatt as. Until then, "has been hailed" is just a claim that adds no information to the article.
I'll wait for this debate to play out before removing the term again, but I think it's clear from those policies that the statement isn't appropriate in its current form. TSP 21:38, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

revert of 8/1[edit]

If this sarcastically worded addition is passed on fact, it should be sourced. I don't put beggar-sticking past the feisty Byatt, but cite if it did happen. Clown in black and yellow 00:51, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

revert of 8/3[edit]

I have added a link to the NY times archive of Byatt's Op-ed about Harry Potter. If I ever find a link to a non-paid cache of this article I will include it here. Yet, in doing this task, I noted that there had been a link to the Salon article supporting Byatt--which short of some kind of very abstruse argument that a few Philosophy majors (or lawyers) might produce, is pretty good prima facia evidence that the whole thing occurred--in any case, was there ever a factual doubt that the thing had happened--or that the depiction of it in the article was inaccurate? Short of a question of whether it all occurred, it seems to me that a request for a source has more to do with formal rigor, which has its' place--but not as the basis for summary deletion of a large passage of text. Even if there was a question of whether the depiction had been accurate, surely the thing to do is to correct, not to delete (and then add in links to (in this case, additional'Italic text) sources to show that the change is towards the truth). I challenge whether the passage was trivial. Certainly Dame Byatt's fiction has everything to do with why she has either a wikipedia page or an op-ed column--but surely that has not been in dispute--and if Byatt's literary reputation has gotten her a forum to comment in one of the world's most important and widely-read newspapers, on the topic of writing, at least a precis of what she has to say will be relevant here--and especially if it generates attention,and reaction, especially on a subject that has a number of wikipedia pages itself. It certainly says something that Byatt found the subject nontrivial enough to write the column in such vehement terms to begin with.

Balance of "Life and career" section.[edit]

In a pitifully short section one of the four sentences is a long quote about her view of Christianity and Quakerism. This is so unbalanced as to be POV. (talk) 07:31, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

I'd say this section needs expanding more than reducing. It is, as you say, pitifully small. Span (talk) 12:27, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

"Appropriation of a family tea-set"[edit]

I know nothing about Byatt, and have no agenda. However, I found this phrase confusing, and it definitely needs editing: "the appropriation of a family tea-set in one of the latter's novels." It sounds as if Drabble STOLE a tea set, and it's not clear what relationship the novel has to this event. Was it a real theft, a fictional theft? Having followed the link, I will clarify the text thus: "Byatt has been engaged in a feud with her novelist sister Margaret Drabble, since learning that Drabble wrote about their family's tea set, a tea set which Byatt had intended to write about herself. The two sisters have also disagreed about the appropriate portrayal of their mother. The pair seldom see each other and don't read each other's books."

This summarizes the article, I think it's clearer, and it doesn't embellish. Note that the article does not claim that they have "famously" been engaged in a feud, nor that they have "long" been engaged in a feud. The reference to "decades" seems clearly to indicate that Byatt found out about the tea set passage decades after it was written, but it does not suggest that the feud went on for decades. In fact, the principle source for information about the feud was Drabble's own autobiographical writing, and she herself refers to the incident as "normal sibling rivalry," so this might well be a bit of overblown gossip based on the natural conflict between two people who write about some of the same experiences from their own diverging points of view.

I added a bit about Byatt's view on the conflict, which, according to her, has indeed been overblown. UlanEng —Preceding undated comment added 17:26, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

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