A. S. Byatt Quotes

Dame Antonia Susan Duffy DBE (née Drabble; born 24 August 1936), known as A. S. Byatt (/?ba?.?t/ BY-?t), is an English novelist, poet and Booker Prize winner. In 2008, The Times newspaper named her on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945

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A. S. Byatt


I sort of mind living in a time when most of the literature is terribly personal. I suppose it's because I grew up on a love of history, philosophy, science and religion, but not to think too much about yourself.

A. S. Byatt


For a long time, I felt instinctively irritated - sometimes repelled - by scientific friends' automatic use of the word 'mechanism' for automatic bodily processes. A machine was man-made; it was not a sentient being; a man was not a machine.

A. S. Byatt


As a little girl, I didn't like stories about little girls. I liked stories about dragons and beasts and princes and princesses and fear and terror and the Four Musketeers and almost anything other than nice little girls making moral decisions about whether to tell the teacher about what the other little girl did or did not do.

A. S. Byatt


A surprising number of people - including many students of literature - will tell you they haven't really lived in a book since they were children. Sadly, being taught literature often destroys the life of the books.

A. S. Byatt


I acquired a hunger for fairy tales in the dark days of blackout and blitz in the Second World War.

A. S. Byatt


Cyclists. I really hate them. I wish they would not be so self-righteous and realise they are a danger to pedestrians. I wish cyclists would not vindictively snap off wing mirrors on cars when they were trying to cross in front of the car at a danger to motorists and pedestrians.

A. S. Byatt


Why do we take pleasure in gruesome death, neatly packaged as a puzzle to which we may find a satisfactory solution through clues - or if we are not clever enough, have it revealed by the all-powerful tale-teller at the end of the book? It is something to do with being reduced to, and comforted by, playing by the rules.

A. S. Byatt


I am not sure how much good is done by moralising about fairy tales. This can be unsubtle - telling children that virtue will be rewarded, when in fact it is mostly simply the fact of being the central character that ensures a favourable outcome. Fairy tales are not, on the whole, parables.

A. S. Byatt


My professional and human obsession is the nature of language, and my best relationships are with other writers. In many ways, I know George Eliot better than I know my husband.

A. S. Byatt


Reading a newspaper is like reading someone's letters, as opposed to a biography or a history. The writer really does not know what will happen. A novelist needs to feel what that is like.

A. S. Byatt


I don't only write about English literature; I also write about chaos theory and... ants. I can understand ants.

A. S. Byatt


Biographies are no longer written to explain or explore the greatness of the great. They redress balances, explore secret weaknesses, demolish legends.

A. S. Byatt


I'm not very interested in myself. I do have a deep moral belief that you should always look out at other things and not be self-centred.

A. S. Byatt


I think vestigially there's a synesthete in me, but not like a real one who immediately knows what colour Wednesday is.

A. S. Byatt


In our world of sleek flesh and collagen, Botox and liposuction, what we most fear is the dissolution of the body-mind, the death of the brain.

A. S. Byatt