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Angels and Insects Paperback – Nov 27 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Nov. 27 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099224313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099224310
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan C on May 10 2001
Format: Paperback
These stories are written with the flow of warm chocolate being poured. The descriptions are lush and sensual and the stories are full of interest. Characters have such full range of life you might expect to run into them while exploring an old house. I truly loved reading these stories, though all of the "bug talk" in the first story got a little (just a little) tiring. I can't bring myself to see the movie because I am not sure anyone could bring the experience I had to the screen. Although I read this for a graduate school exam, I could just as easily have read it for the sheer pleasure. And as soon as I finish writing my thesis, I'll probably pick it up again.
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By Lin Ta on April 22 2010
Format: Paperback
The title says it all, the delivery was fast and efficient. The book was in good quality too!
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 1 2006
Format: Paperback
A.S. Byatt is best known for her lush, time-spanning historical romance "Possession." In "Angels and Insects: Two Novellas," Byatt revisits the intellectuals of the Victorian era. She dips into Victorian interests in spiritualism, insects, poetry and love -- not to mention their darker sides as well.
"Morpho Eugenia" introduces us to a young naturalist named William, who until recently had been studying insects in the Amazon. He was shipwrecked, then rescued by the wealthy Alabaster family. While continuing to study butterflies, he marries the beautiful eldest daughter Eugenia and for a time, lives the good life. The only problem is that unknown to him, Eugenia is wrapped up in a lifelong tangle of obsession and incest.
"The Conjugial Angel" introduces us to a group of mediums who gather to call up spirits. Mrs. Papagay is still in love with the dead Arturo. Emily mourns her dead lover, immortalized in her brother Alfred Tennyson's "In Memoriam" -- except she has married again. Now she struggles with her past emotions, her present doubts, and her longing to communicate with her love again.
As in her prior works, Byatt's writing is almost dizzily lush. She has a good sense of detail, describing ribbons, moths, butterfly wings, and the flames of gaslights. But pretty words are not all that Byatt has to offer -- she makes use of poetry (her own, and that of others), Darwinism and religious faith, Swedenborg, a family whose opulence covers their decay, and the nuances of love. Not to mention the dialogue: Eugenia's rambling explanation about her relationship with her brother is chilling.
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By Mary T. Dumont on June 7 2002
Format: Paperback
The literary conceit of the book is so great I admit that I am intimated. But baring my ignorance, I will say the book was tedious. The most interesting question for me was whether Edgar and Eugenia were in fact brother and sister of any stripe since they had different mothers and fathers. This moral question is very much one for our day when Woody Allen can marry his putative daughter who is not a blood relation. Was that wrong? Did Eugenia and Edgar engage in anything more serious than a sexual liasion outside of marriage. This question although presented (see page 27 for description of blood relation) is not even addressed. A lot of work to consider an interesting question that wasn't considered.
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Format: Paperback
The first book I read by A.S. Byatt was Possession, which remains one of my all-time favorite books. Then I wanted to read more of her work. Angels & Insects won't be an all time favorite, but I enjoyed reading it and prefered it to the F. Potter trilogy and most of the short stories. Both novellas have interesting, detailed Victorian settings and fascinations (insects, spiritualism), layers of stories (insect studies, poems), surprises and quirky characters. "Morpho Eugenia" is the stronger novella. I enjoyed the ants, William and the satisfying ending. I liked "The Conjugal Angel" better than most of the reviwers here, perhaps because I like Tennyson's poetry.
Angels & Insects the movie is an adaptation of "Morpho Eugenia" and quite good. The costumes are dazzling.
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By Glen Engel Cox on Sept. 20 2001
Format: Paperback
Two novellas by Byatt, the author of a particular favorite book of mine, Possession. Both stories share some commonalties with that work: an historical setting made real through the use of documents (poems, stories) that signify the date of their creation by their style. Both stories are set in the past, near the turn of the 19th century. "Morpho Eugenia" (the insects of the title) is a little mystery story about a naturalist who has lost all of his specimens during a sea-wreck and is forced to work as a catalogist for a wealthy amateur, working through the amateur's bought samples. The naturalist is loosely based, it seems, on David Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection with Charles Darwin. He finds that his patron's family is nearly as interesting as nature, especially one young lady cocooned from the world. But cocoons hide things.
The second story is more like Possession in that it plays revisionistic (or maybe impressionistic) with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and his sister Emily through the medium of a medium (that is, a clairvoyant). The point around which the story revolves is Arthur Hallem, the subject of Tennyson's "In Memoriam," a friend of his youth and the betrothed of his sister, who died on a sea voyage when Hallem was twenty-two. Emily, now married, has lingering doubts about her choice of marriage, wondering, if she should have, as her brother's poem snidely implies, spent her days in perpetual maidenhood. Are we destined to have only one soul mate, the other being with which we form 'the conjugal angel'?
Byatt's style is Byzantine. Her scholarship into literary istory has informed her pen to leak the century from its nib, and is not for those married to modernity. Yet her subjects are fresh and vibrant, pictured with painful clarity in the harshest of lights. Her characters ache in-between the lines.
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