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I have to admit I just couldn't get into it. . There is a kind of momentum in this section depicting Fitzgerald in her fifties and sixties that is exciting and inspiring. . Unfortunately I had glandular fever so did not have the opportunity to appreciate her spare, calm lessons as fully as I would have if I had been well. Free 2-day shipping. Penelope comes from a fascinating family, a few bishops among them; her father was editor of Punch, so she comes by her craft and humor and edge honestly, and while she was an active writer and critic all her life--and much admired--her own novels weren't published until she was in her sixties. Hermione Lee has responded to the family's request for her to write this biography by doing it frankly, faithfully, with full respect for PF's reticence, silences and idiosyncrasies. I must admit I feel a bit smarter after reading it--the experience of getting there wasn't as pleasurable as I'd hoped. She taught at the University of York from 1977, where over twenty years she was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor of English Literature. I assumed, like Kafka and Mansfield, she had to fight against a rather mediocre family background to become a writer. . . I may have been at a disadvantage because I haven't read any of Fitzgerald's works yet, so perhaps I would have been more immersed if I had. . . . . Their religiosity spilt over into an interest in social questions and the relief of poverty, they were Liberals, centre-left in modern terms. Please try again. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also, her prodigious work ethic and enduring curiosity. Fitzgerald came late to fame, and this meticulously researched and beautifully written biography reveals every facet of her life in the most intimate way. . This biography therefore has the effect of sending you straight back to Penelope Fitzgerald's books, which is exactly what a good biography should do. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. (Odd how many great or prominemnt English writers of the mid-20th century had "failed" or unhappy marriages - Penelope, All of the Inklings, Nancy Mi. Though not light reading, when I finished it, I wanted to read all of Fitzgerald! I love discovering new writers and this one sounds very much worth the while. Already in her 50s, Fitzgerald looked like someone whose life had passed her by, “a middle-aged teacher, recovering from a traumatic period … They were also evasive, had difficulties in communicating their emotions, many in the family had literary ambitions, all were intellectually ambitious and competitive (perhaps this was the cause of the religiosity). Her conclusion is a statement of biographical honesty.” —The Wall Street Journal “The life and times of that elusive, original miracle worker, the English novelist and biographer Penelope Fitzgerald, have been brilliantly captured by Lee. . Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published . . This part of the book was the most exciting for me. Superb biogtraphy of this woman who in most ways was a late starter, but who had, unbnownst to me, a great success in the magazine world as a young woman, editing a highbrow-ish title for the publishers of the great British picture magazine Lilliput. There's a problem loading this menu right now. I'm glad her adventures were narrated in this biography. I plan to definitely read more of Hermione Lee's work. . . A Best Book of the Year: San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times. I was fascinated by many aspects of her life and character: in particular, her many reversals of fortune -- and the stoical way she dealt with them -- and the relationship with her war-and-alcohol damaged husband. She is also the author of critical books on Elizabeth Bowen and Philip Roth. The themes are of hard work and observation, and her ability to transform her own experiences into literature. Penelope Fitzgerald led a mostly quiet life, teaching and then writing - apart from when the barge she was living on sank in the Thames - but Hermione Lee makes the most of her material and has a good attempt at explaining Penelope's appeal. Lee adds to this, stating that ‘her novels were short, spare masterpieces, self-concealing, oblique and subtle’. Penelope Fitzgerald was a teacher, a scholar, a world-class novelist, a two-time winner of Britain's Man Booker Prize, and a devoted mother and wife. I had never heard of its subject, the German romantic writer, Novalis, but Holmes enticed me to find Fitzgerald’s book and read it. In 2008 Lee was elected President of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. . There never came a dull, boring point where I wanted to stop reading, as has happened in other biographies I have read. . . The last pages of this book offer a wonderful insight into the biographer's art, as Hermione Lee steps onto the empty stage, having just laid Penelope to rest. ; the second part an examination of her last 4 historical novels, focussing less on her life and more on her research and the books themselves. Like its subject’s own late flowering, it is a triumph. This comprehensive and well-documented biography details the interesting life of Fitzgerald, both personal and literary. I am a relatively-recent convert to Penelope Fitzgerald, but I would now list her as one of my favourite authors. She doesn't disappoint here. . with a reverence for her subject that is felt on every page.” —The New York Review of Books“Rarely has a literary biography been more needed or necessary than in Fitzgerald’s case. It gets bogged down in details that did not advance the story. Her prose is known for being concise, spiritual, historical, an eye for detail and a lot of space for the reader's own knowledge and wisdom to fill in the blanks. Penelope Fitzgerald was a teacher, a scholar, a world-class novelist, a two-time winner of Britain's Man Booker Prize, and a devoted mother and wife. I have to admit I just couldn't get into it. Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life [Lee, Hermione] on Amazon.com.au. [Lee’s] intense, close-up analyses of each book would have thrilled Fitzgerald.” —The Sunday Times (London) “The biography of the year, an extraordinary portrait of an English literary life.” —Robert McCrum, The Observer (London) “Richly satisfying . Penelope Fitzgerald, one of the most quietly brilliant novelists of the twentieth century, was a great English writer whose career didn’t begin until she was nearly sixty. The biography reveals her low profile astuteness and her sense of self as a Knox, early successes at the BBC and in journalism, her years as wife and mother in hard working, depressed and frugal circumstances (resonant with many readers, of family life in the nineteen 'forties and 'fifties), her self assurance that she would ultimately write - and her success. . Any admirer of Penelope Fitzgerald’s work — or, for that matter, any passionate reader — will enjoy this capacious, masterly biography. (Odd how many great or prominemnt English writers of the mid-20th century had "failed" or unhappy marriages - Penelope, All of the Inklings, Nancy Mitford, down to JK Rowling.) Book Of The Week Radio 4. The second part is about her life as a young mother, struggling to make ends meet. . . . [Lee’s] research is meticulous. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. . . A fine and definitive biography. . Thrilling. She was a writer of genius. I am now prompted to read some of Penelope Fitzgerald's fiction. Hermione Lee is a wonderful biographer. A highly competent biography of an intriguing writer, written with very little authorial voice (always the sign of a good biographer). I enjoyed the biography a lot, particularly as it resonates with so many women's lives. Abridged by Libby Spurrier. And the more I read about Fitzgerald the less I found myself warming to her. Welcome back. From 1998-2008 sh. I am now on a mission to read her novels, and have already finished The Bookshop, an excellent little read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2015. There was the first part about her being a “Knox.” I was fascinated to learn about this famous intellectual family: her parents were both daughters of Anglican bishops, and her father became the editor of Punch. After distinguished service in WWII, Desmond falls into alcoholism. She was uncomplaining and forgiving, almost to excess. Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2015. It is very thorough, except for large gaps where a real understanding of her relation. She spent most of her adult life doing the best for her children. Hermione Lee gives in to the temptation to read Penelope Fitzgerald's life through her novels (as well as the biographies). Her life was marked by dramatic twists of fate, moving from a bishop’s palace to a sinking houseboat to a last, late … Penelope Fitzgerald, née Penelope Mary Knox, (born December 17, 1916, Lincoln, England—died April 28, 2000, London), English novelist and biographer noted for her economical, yet evocative, witty, and intricate works often concerned with the efforts of her characters to cope with their unfortunate life circumstances. 'S biography of an underrated author, and have already finished the Bookshop an... 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