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book cover of The Afterlife

The Afterlife

A collection of stories by

The Washington Post
Treating serious things gracefully is also the hallmark of Penelope Fitzgerald and of this fine collection, compiled by her son-in-law and her American and British editors. —Michael Dirda

Library Journal
British novelist Fitzgerald (Offshore; The Blue Flower), who died in 2000 at age 83, was one of England's most celebrated contemporary writers. This scintillating patchwork of her literary essays celebrates her range of writing styles as well as interests, featuring travel pieces, commentary on the art of the written word, and essays on her private life, as well as biographical essays about the works and lives of her British predecessors (e.g., George Eliot, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Jane Austen) and her contemporaries (e.g., Muriel Spark, Carol Shields, and Richard Yates). While Fitzgerald's penetrating literary criticism and biographies make up the bulk of this anthology, it is the author's musings about her English childhood that truly incarnate her. Seductively abstruse, Fitzgerald was a master at creating a unique interweaving of literature and memoir. This anthology certainly attests to that. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries.-Colleen Lougen, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Though Fitzgerald, who died in 2000, was surely a writer for her time, the English novelist and essayist (The Means of Escape, 2000, etc.) seemed most at home wandering through libraries devoted to late Victorian and Edwardian writers, many now forgotten. This selection of essays, forewords, and book reviews introduces modern readers to some of them: the bookseller, poet, and editor Harold Monro, who asked in his will "for his ashes to be scattered at the root of a young oak tree, though only if the idea proved practicable"; George Moore, the Irish writer who, like Fitzgerald, "set himself to read everything"; the unhappy Bloomsburyite Dora Carrington, whose ashes none of that weird circle could remember scattering, if she had even been cremated in the first place; John Lehman, the editor who aspired to be a poet-though, as Fitzgerald remarks, "he produced eight collections in his lifetime, there was never any evidence that he was able to write good poetry." Fitzgerald is a generally amiable critic, motivated by a passion for good books but aware of the effort it takes to write even an undistinguished one. Her sidelong journeys through the stalls and stacks, pointing out treasures and private passions, will delight those Virginia Woolf honored with the designation "the common reader," who are, of course, none-too-common these days.


Used availability for Penelope Fitzgerald's The Afterlife

Hardback Editions

September 2003 : USA Hardback

Title: The Afterlife
Author(s): Penelope Fitzgerald, Terence Dooley, Christopher Carduff, Mandy Kirby
ISBN: 1-58243-198-1 / 978-1-58243-198-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Counterpoint
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

September 2004 : USA Paperback

Title: The Afterlife: Essays and Criticism
Author(s): Penelope Fitzgerald
ISBN: 1-58243-320-8 / 978-1-58243-320-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Counterpoint
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA