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Understanding Penelope Fitzgerald
Peter Wolfe
157003561X
January 2004
Hardcover
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Book Description
Peter Wolfe’s study of Penelope Fitzgerald’s canon illuminates writings he characterizes as possessing unerring dramatic judgment, a friendly and fluid style, and lyrical and precise descriptive passages. In this survey of Fitzgerald’s life and career, Wolfe explains how the British novelist brings resources of talent and craft, thought and feeling, courage and vulnerability, to the biographies and novels that have earned her renown.With readings of a broad range of her published works, including her final novel, The Blue Flower, Wolfe describes the unfolding of Fitzgerald’s writing as a subtle, ongoing process. He maintains that the novels, though plain and rambling at first glance, grow fuller, stranger, and more stirring the more we invest in them. He details Fitzgerald’s skill at sequencing...


Blue Flower
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395859972
April 1997
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59. Since then, she's written eight more, three of which have been short-listed for England's prestigious Booker Prize, and one of which, Offshore, won. Now she's back with her tenth and best book so far, The Blue Flower. This is the story of Friedrich von Hardenberg--Fritz, to his intimates--a young man of the late 18th century who is destined to become one of Germany's great romantic poets. In just over 200 pages, Fitzgerald creates a complete world of family, friends and lovers, but also an exhilarating evocation of the romantic era in all its political turmoil, intellectual voracity, and moral ambiguity. A profound exploration of genius, The Blue Flower is also a charming, wry, and witty look at domestic life. Fritz's family--his eccentric...


Offshore
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395478049
April 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
Offshore possesses perfect, very odd pitch. In just over 130 pages of the wittiest and most melancholy prose, Penelope Fitzgerald limns the lives of "creatures neither of firm land nor water"--a group of barge-dwellers in London's Battersea Reach, circa 1961. One man, a marine artist whose commissions have dropped off since the war, is attempting to sell his decrepit craft before it sinks. Another, a dutiful businessman with a bored, mutinous wife, knows he should be landlocked but remains drawn to the muddy Thames. A third, Maurice, a male prostitute, doesn't even protest when a criminal acquaintance begins to use his barge as a depot for stolen goods: "The dangerous and the ridiculous were necessary to his life, otherwise tenderness would overwhelm him."

At the center of the novel--winner of...



The Gate of Angels
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395848385
Apr 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald wanted to call her 1990 novel Mistakes Made by Scientists. On the other hand, she laughingly likened it to a Harlequin doctor-nurse romance. The truth about The Gate of Angels is somewhere in between. The doctor, Fred Fairly, is indeed a young Cambridge scientist, and the nurse, Daisy Saunders, has been ejected from a London hospital. If Fred is to win her love, he must make an appropriately melodramatic sacrifice--leaving the academic sanctum of St. Angelicus, a college where all females, even pussycats, are banished ("though the starlings couldn't altogether be regulated").

Daisy, however, suffers from a very non-Harlequin malady, the sort found only in Fitzgerald: "All her life she had been at a great disadvantage in finding it so much more easy to give than to take....



Knox Brothers
Penelope Fitzgerald
1582431639
July 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald's novels expertly map the unquiet heart. But so, too, do her three biographies, all of which mingle truth and tact, wit and documentary power. The Knox Brothers, first published in 1977, is suffused with rich, right strangeness and sad delight. Fitzgerald begins her group portrait of her father and three uncles a few generations back, establishing on the Knox side a tradition of religious fervor, dominant fathers, and invalid mothers. The Frenches were equally ecclesiastical but not so dour, her great-grandfather Thomas perhaps the most extraordinary of the lot: he ended his days wandering through Arabia preaching Christ's love. (In the end, "agents of the Sultan, who deeply respected the strange old fakir, were deputed to keep watch over him, but they could do nothing when they found him...


Third Kind of Knowledge: Memoirs and Selected Writings of Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
0811210561
January 1992
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Translator, poet and essayist Fitzgerald (1910-1985) is known chiefly for his excellent translations of Homer's Odyssey (1961) and Iliad (1974) and Virgil's Aeneid (1984). In this collection, edited with an introduction by his widow, Fitzgerald communicates the high degree of intellect, intuition and respect a gifted writer and translator brings to his work. The eclectic collection includes literary essays and an interview on the art of translating and writing poetry, as well as Fitzgerald's recollections of his childhood and his early career as a reporter. His reminiscences of fellow writers, such as James Agee, Flannery O'Connor and Vachel Lindsay, are perceptive and touching. Of interest to devotees and scholars. Photos not seen by PW. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

...


The Beginning of Spring
Penelope Fitzgerald
039590871X
Sept 1998
Paperback
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Book Review
In March 1913, Frank Reid's wife abruptly leaves him and Moscow for her native England. Naturally, she takes their daughters and son with her. The children, however, only make it as far as the train station--and even after returning home remain unaffected by their brief exile. "They ought either to be quieter or more noisy than before," their father thinks, "and it was disconcerting that they seemed to be exactly the same." Frank's routines, however, drift into disorder as he tries desperately to take charge of life at home and work. Even his printing plant is suddenly confronted by the specters of modernization and utter instability.

In Penelope Fitzgerald's fiction, affection and remorse are all too often allied, and desire and design seem never to meet. Frank wants little more than a quiet, confident life--something...



Bookshop
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395869463
September 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
Since 1977, Penelope Fitzgerald has been quietly coming out with small, perfect devastations of human hope and inhuman (i.e., all-too-human) behavior. And now we have the opportunity to read "The Bookshop," her tragicomedy of provincial manners first published in 1978 in the U.K., but never available in the U.S. The Bookshop unfolds in a tiny Sussex seaside town, which by 1959 is virtually cut off from the outside English world. Postwar peace and plenty having passed it by, Hardborough is defined chiefly by what it doesn't have. It does have, however, plenty of observant inhabitants, most of whom are keen to see Florence Green's new bookshop fail. But rising damp will not stop Florence, nor will the resident, malevolent poltergeist (or "rapper," in the local patois). Nor will she be thwarted by Violet Gamart, who has...


Afterlife: Essays and Criticism
Penelope Fitzgerald
1582431981
October 2003
Hardcover
·
 
From Booklist
British writer Fitzgerald (1916-2000), winner of the Booker Prize for Offshore ( 1987) and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Blue Flower ( 1996), wrote biographies as well as fiction and lots of subtly erudite, covertly witty, and altogether invigorating essays and reviews. Fitzgerald grew up writing--her father, E. V. Knox, was editor of Punch from 1932 to 1949--and is renowned for her understated style, a habit of restraint that makes for agile and piquant criticism. An extraordinarily discerning reader, Fitzgerald offers strong opinions on the art of biography; expert assessments of visual art, including illustration and cartoons; a keen sense of place; and avid interest in both lesser-known writers such as Charlotte Mew and such giants as William Blake and George Eliot....


Innocence
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395908728
Sept 1998
Paperback
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
This charming, amusing and deft novel by a winner of the Booker Prize is set in Florence in the 1950s, though the characters might have stepped directly out of the Renaissance. The slightly eccentric characters share the trait suggested by the title, and never once does Fitzgerald strike a false note. Unique in the annals of Euro-American marital commerce is an aging count who trades his aristocratic lineage to an American in marriage and is "left worse off than before." His daughter, beautiful, featherbrained Chiara, loves the solemnly scientific neurologist Salvatore, who has fled his native southern Italy and his father's deep involvement in politics; the elder is a passionate disciple of one of Mussolini's most distinguished victims. Others in a richly peopled scene include Maddalena, accurately known as Aunt...


Afterlife: Essays and Criticism
Penelope Fitzgerald
1582433208
October 2004
Paperback
·
 
From Booklist
British writer Fitzgerald (1916-2000), winner of the Booker Prize for Offshore ( 1987) and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Blue Flower ( 1996), wrote biographies as well as fiction and lots of subtly erudite, covertly witty, and altogether invigorating essays and reviews. Fitzgerald grew up writing--her father, E. V. Knox, was editor of Punch from 1932 to 1949--and is renowned for her understated style, a habit of restraint that makes for agile and piquant criticism. An extraordinarily discerning reader, Fitzgerald offers strong opinions on the art of biography; expert assessments of visual art, including illustration and cartoons; a keen sense of place; and avid interest in both lesser-known writers such as Charlotte Mew and such giants as William Blake and George Eliot....


Human Voices
Penelope Fitzgerald
039595617X
May 1999
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
In 1940, as World War II heats up, the BBC is doing its best to fulfill its singular mission: saving Britain from despondency and panic without resorting to lies. "Broadcasting House was in fact dedicated to the strangest project of the war, or of any war, that is, telling the truth." Surrounded by sandbags that are literally going to seed, this London landmark has come to resemble an ocean liner both inside and out. "With the best engineers in the world," Penelope Fitzgerald observes, "and a crew varying between the intensely respectable and the barely sane, it looked ready to scorn any disaster of less than Titanic scale." Though there are no icebergs in Human Voices, Fitzgerald's perfectly pitched 1980 novel, danger does loom on several decks.

For a start, the Department of Recorded Programmes (DRP) is in for a...



At Freddie's
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395956188
Sept 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
Age has indeed withered the proprietress of London's Temple School for child actors, but custom has yet to stale her infinite, cadging variety. Freddie--born Frieda Wentworth--is Penelope Fitzgerald's most marvelous sacred monster, a woman insanely devoted to her art. Over several decades she has foiled debt collectors, creditors, and bailiffs at every turn. What matter if Freddie's Covent Garden redoubt is freezing and falling apart, her own office-cum-bedroom a haven for must and dust, mold and mothballs? When one would-be financier has the temerity to display a balance sheet, she orders him to put it away, "in the tone she used to the local flasher." After all, this force of theatrical nature can always rely on actors and theaters for desperate, last-minute donations. On the other hand, it is 1963, and the school is...


Blue Flower
Penelope Fitzgerald
0753100096
January 1980
Audio
·
 
Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59. Since then, she's written eight more, three of which have been short-listed for England's prestigious Booker Prize, and one of which, Offshore, won. Now she's back with her tenth and best book so far, The Blue Flower. This is the story of Friedrich von Hardenberg--Fritz, to his intimates--a young man of the late 18th century who is destined to become one of Germany's great romantic poets. In just over 200 pages, Fitzgerald creates a complete world of family, friends and lovers, but also an exhilarating evocation of the romantic era in all its political turmoil, intellectual voracity, and moral ambiguity. A profound exploration of genius, The Blue Flower is also a charming, wry, and witty look at domestic life. Fritz's family--his eccentric...


The Golden Child
Penelope Fitzgerald
0395956196
Sept 1999
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald's first novel is packed with institutional follies and fiercely territorial old trouts. Set in a London museum whose officers only appear august, The Golden Child literally proves that authorities are clowns and clowns authorities. As the book opens, all England is queuing up to see the golden treasure of the Garamantes--the remains of a young king who was interred complete with a trove of toys and goodies. Only the man who unearthed the kinglet back in 1913 refuses to go anywhere near the exhibit, despite his constant proximity: "Sir William, in extreme but clear-headed old age, and after a lifetime of fieldwork, had come to roost in the Museum itself." Meanwhile, everyone--from nations to corporations--wants a piece of the Golden Child. (The exhibit is even underwritten by a company that hopes its puff,...


Blue Flower
Penelope Fitzgerald
0753107155
October 1999
Compact Disc
·
 
Book Review
Penelope Fitzgerald wrote her first novel 20 years ago, at the age of 59. Since then, she's written eight more, three of which have been short-listed for England's prestigious Booker Prize, and one of which, Offshore, won. Now she's back with her tenth and best book so far, The Blue Flower. This is the story of Friedrich von Hardenberg--Fritz, to his intimates--a young man of the late 18th century who is destined to become one of Germany's great romantic poets. In just over 200 pages, Fitzgerald creates a complete world of family, friends and lovers, but also an exhilarating evocation of the romantic era in all its political turmoil, intellectual voracity, and moral ambiguity. A profound exploration of genius, The Blue Flower is also a charming, wry, and witty look at domestic life. Fritz's family--his eccentric...

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