V.S. PRITCHETT: A Working Life

Jeremy Treglown, Author
Jeremy Treglown, Author . Random $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-375-50853-0
Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7126-9725-5
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In his heyday, when his work was widely read on both sides of the Atlantic, V.S. Pritchett was considered "the greatest writer-critic since Virginia Woolf" and "incomparably the finest short-story writer of our time." Writing with felicitous ease and psychological insight, Treglown (Roald Dahl ), formerly editor of the Times Literary Supplement , assesses the circumstances attending Pritchett's prodigiously varied oeuvre—travel pieces, literary criticism, short stories, novels, essays, biographies and memoirs. Pritchett's previously unpublished correspondence and journals inform a biography finely attuned to his domestic and professional vicissitudes during a life that spanned most of the 20th century (he was born in 1900 and died in 1997). Here is fresh material about VSP's lower-middle-class origins, his charlatan father, his miserable two decades with his first wife, Evelyn, and his passionate marriage to Dorothy—a long-lasting union that was deeply troubled by her alcoholism and his affairs. To American readers who eagerly awaited Pritchett's work in the New Yorker, this biography will augment the respect he already enjoys. Even better, it may attract new readers to the work of a man who represented his century with unwavering energy and acuity. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW . Agent, Amanda Urban. (Jan.)

FYI: This biography will be published in tandem with a new Modern Library edition of Essential Stories, edited by Treglown, and Mr. Beluncle, arguably Pritchett's best novel.

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