Possession By A. S Byatt Analysis

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Possession by A.S Byatt was published in 1990. It chronicles the story of two young scholars Maud and Roland Mitchel who uncover a hidden affair between two previously unconnected Victorian poets. The novel is comprised of a number of diary entries, letters and poems granting the reader a unique insight into the lives of the characters. The novel also makes use of various styles of narration, duality of tales, a number of narrative voices and a combination of contrasting literary genres in order to achieve the desired effect. This essay endeavours to explore the connections between female sexuality and women’s writing in Possession. Molly Hite wrote that the female body “becomes a text that must be read in order to be dismantled and reassembled by an emergent female aesthetic” (123). With this in mind, the essay will carefully analyse three of the major female characters featured in the novel, Val, Christabel and Maud. Each character will be individually examined with particular attention to her writing and to what extent her sexuality impacts upon her publications in the male dominated academic realm.
Val occupies perhaps the least influential role in the novel; she is the long term girlfriend of the main character Roland Mitchel. Her identity as his girlfriend is arguably her most dominant feature. She is continuously overshadowed by Roland’s academic prowess and yet never strays from his side. The novel presents Val with an almost repulsive description; her appearance is

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