Literary Precedents for Possession: A Romance

A.S. Byatt
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Frequently Possession has been compared to John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969), which also has a Victorian setting and a somewhat similar pair of lovers. Most of those comparing Byatt's novel to Fowles's, however, seem to have the film version of the earlier novel in mind. In that version, the Victorian story is given a modern parallel in the form of modern actors playing the Victorian characters in a film and thus offers the same sort of contrast between the two periods.

Both novels have a Victorian man faced with a choice between a proper fiancee/wife and an unconventional woman who becomes his mistress.

Nevertheless, Possession has been rightly praised for its originality; its sense of familiarity seems to come more from Byatt's use of the techniques of the Victorian novel and from her Victorian characters than from its relationship to any specific previous novel...

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This section contains 150 words
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Buy the Possession: A Romance Study Guide
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