Is it Roland and Maud, or is she suddenly writing about Christabel and Ash again?
Throughout the book, Byatt often makes these switches in characters between scenes without telling the reader.
There are several themes in Possession that tie this book to earlier texts that we have read.
Individual versus group identity, feminism, sexuality and the link between present and past are themes that Byatt deals with in her novel.
This period began around 1836 and lasted to roughly 1860.
The beginnings of romanticist philosophy originated much earlier, around the end of the 18th century, but reached its peak of influence around 1840.Interestingly, Byatt expresses many of these themes using symbolic color imagery, a technique that makes her writing reminiscent of Pre-Raphaelite style.According to Byatt, the "struggle of the individual to discover and then live out her own identity, an identity etched out only with enormous effort and determination" is a major theme running through many of her novels, especially this one. Are they owning and possessing their literary history, or does it possess them?Until I read some of the reviews, I thought Byatt's Victorian characters were actual historical literary figures, when actually they are fictitious, and their journals, letters, and poetry are written by Byatt. The two main characters, Roland and Maud, are literary scholars living in the 1980's.Their love story is shared and played out by the diaries, poetry, and correspondence of two poets and lovers from the 1860's-Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel La Motte. Already in those few lines I hear echoes of class, lines written in flowery Pre-Raphaelite tradition. The first few lines of chapter one are poetry attributed to Randolph Henry Ash, which Byatt wrote herself. The entire book seems one big reference back to something we've learned or read this May term. Byatt's novel Possession without having had British Literature, a lot of the novel's meaning, analogies, and literary mystery would have been lost to me.The effect is that the narrative is essentially no different for each couple living in different time periods.The same love story that defines Christabel and Ash in the 1860's also describes Roland and Maud in the 1980's.