Overview

John Banville

(b. 1945)


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1945– ),

novelist and journalist, born in Wexford, literary editor of the Irish Times from 1989. His fiction is characterized by a densely referential style and by a preoccupation with the act of writing itself. Long Lankin (1970), his first book, was a collection of stories and a concluding novella, ‘The Possessed’, which was drawn on for his first novel, Nightspawn (1971). Birchwood (1973) was followed by a trilogy of fictional biographies of figures from the history of science—Doctor Copernicus (1976), Kepler (1981), and The Newton Letter: An Interlude (1982). The central figure of Mefisto (1986) is Gabriel Swan, a man obsessed by numbers. The Book of Evidence (1989) was followed by two loosely connected sequels, Ghosts (1993), whose protagonist is a scientist who has been convicted of murder, and Athena (1994), in which the same narrator becomes ensnared in a conspiracy involving stolen works of art. Later novels include The Untouchable (1997), a deft transmutation of the spy novel with a character based on art historian Anthony Blunt, and The Sea (2005, Booker Prize), a novel of grief, recollection, and loss.

Subjects: Literature.


Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.