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Hilary Mantel: Raising the dead, speaking the truth

Fletcher, L ORCID: 0000-0002-8348-472X 2017 , 'Hilary Mantel: Raising the dead, speaking the truth', in J Acheson (ed.), The Contemporary British Novel Since 2000 , Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 37-47.

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In 2012, Hilary Mantel became only the third author to win the Man Booker Prize twice, joining Peter Carey and J. M. Coetzee. Her winning novel, Bring up the Bodies, is a sequel to Wolf Hall, winner of the Man Booker in 2009. No sequel had ever won before and no author had gained the prestigious prize so soon after winning it for the first time. Mantel shot to fame in 2009, and at the time described her nine previous novels as something of a long apprenticeship for Wolf Hall, a 650-page work of historical fiction about the court of Henry VIII.This chapter examines Mantel's three novels since 2000, Beyond Black (2005), Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring up the Bodies (2012). Mantel, who has said that if her life had turned out differently 'she might well have become a medium', frequently describes the work of writing a novel as a type of congress with 'ghosts': 'You talk to the dead one way or another, and you make it pay.' There are strong connections between the actual and metaphoric hauntings in Giving up the Ghost and her depiction of the encounters with the dead made by Alison Hart, the main character of Beyond Black. These invite a reading of the latter as another effort by Mantel to locate herself in relation to the meanings she unearths and those she produces as a writer of historical novels.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Fletcher, L
Keywords: contemporary British novels, 2000s, Mantel
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 editorial matter and organisation James Acheson; the chapters their several authors

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