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Penelope Fitzgerald$
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Hugh Adlington

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780746312957

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780746312957.001.0001

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Reputation and Influence

Reputation and Influence

(p.113) 6 Reputation and Influence
Penelope Fitzgerald

Hugh Adlington

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses the growth of Penelope Fitzgerald’s literary reputation since her death in 2000, and gauges the nature of her influence on other writers. It weighs up contemporary criticism of her work, and suggests that despite the favourable attention given to her life and writing in recent years, including film and radio adaptations of her novels, and Hermione Lee’s full-length biography, Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, Fitzgerald’s place in the canon of twentieth-century British fiction is not necessarily secure. This is partly because of the difficulty of categorizing Fitzgerald’s work. Her style and sensibility have more in common with her chronological peers, such as post-war novelists Barbara Pym, Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch, than with novelists of the 1980s and 1990s. At the same time, reviewers of female ironists such as Fitzgerald tend to overplay the benignity of her fiction, as though subtlety and understatement were incommensurate with the exploration of the major questions of life. The chapter concludes by calling on educators, writers, and publishers to support her legacy by continuing to study, adapt and print her works.

Keywords:   reputation, influence, film adaptation, Hermione Lee, legacy

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