Possession Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Possession

This book is an incredible interweaving of two romances- one, which is revealed through uncovered letters and poems, is of an illicit affair between two 19th century poets, the other is the growing love between the 20th century scholars researching the lives of their predecessors. The author writes poems for the dead lovers (in the style of Browning for the man and Christina Rosseti for the woman) that provide clues to the nature of the relationship in a very unusual and creative way. As the past is uncovered there is a certain amount of mystery interwoven which adds an interesting and unique element of suspense to the book. The characters are myriad and the overall development is exceptional. This book is well deserving of the awards and attention it has received.
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The review of this Book prepared by Wendy Reilly

Like many unique works, this award-winning 1990 novel defies categories. I couldn't define a "main character" or "time period," because the story gives equal weight to a pair of obscure English poets (male and female) in the 19th century and a pair of English academics (male and female) tracking them down in the late 20th. This romance/historical novel also transcends genres: Byatt concocts original poetry by each of the 19th century characters, and presents a lot of their delicate, personal correspondence for the modern couple to study. The latter are in turn warily drawn to each other as well. It's a dramatic tour-de-force presented in rich and allusive language.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of Possession

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat    -   thoughtful Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Unmarried Love Triangle?    -   Yes Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   scholar Age:    -   20's-30's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France City?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Possession

A.S. Byatt Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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