The Strange Clarity of Distance: History, Myth, and Imagination in the Novels of Isabel Colegate

  • Brett T. Averitt


Perhaps it is because we know nothing first-hand of our own beginning or ending that myths of origin and creation, those of the afterlife and resurrection, both delight and comfort us. Other myths, such as romantic and social ones, we often see working in our lives, or if we don’t and are oblivious to them, we may suffer their blind-siding. To make things more difficult, social myths which justify the uses of power — imperialism, patriotism, nationalism, social Darwinism, racism, sexism, classism — sometimes compete with romantic myths, such as the myth of the hero and the quest for perfection and the ideal, but they may also be reinforced by them. Sometimes they’re substitutes, sometimes complements.


Historical Reality Publisher Weekly Creative Imagination Urban Politics Great Poet 
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A Bibliography of Writings by Isabel Colegate


  1. The Blackmailer (London: Anthony Blond, 1958).Google Scholar
  2. A Man of Power (London: Anthony Blond, 1960).Google Scholar
  3. The Great Occasion (London: Anthony Blond, 1962).Google Scholar
  4. Statues in a Garden (London: Bodley Head, 1964. New York: Knopf, 1966).Google Scholar
  5. Orlando King (London: Bodley Head, 1968. New York: Knopf, 1969).Google Scholar
  6. Orlando at the Brazen Threshold (London: Bodley Head, 1971).Google Scholar
  7. Agatha (London: Bodley Head, 1973).Google Scholar
  8. News from the City of the Sun (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1979).Google Scholar
  9. The Shooting Party (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1980. New York: Knopf, 1980).Google Scholar
  10. Three Novels: The Blackmailer, A Man of Power, The Great Occasion (New York and London: Viking Penguin, 1984).Google Scholar
  11. The Orlando Trilogy: Orlando, Orlando at the Brazen Threshold, and Agatha (New York and London: Viking Penguin, 1984).Google Scholar
  12. A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1985. New York: Viking Penguin,1985).Google Scholar
  13. Deceits of Time (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1988. New York: Viking Penguin, 1988).Google Scholar
  14. The Summer of the Royal Visit (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991. New York: Viking, 1992).Google Scholar

Articles and Reviews

  1. ‘The Youngest of the Young’, New Review (Spring 1978): 19–23.Google Scholar
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  4. ‘Untitled’ [Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland by the Knight of the Glin, David J. Griffin and Nicholas K. Robinson]. The Spectator (18 March 1989): 28.Google Scholar
  5. ‘Devilish Brown Dog’, The Threepenny Review (Spring 1989): 10–11.Google Scholar
  6. ‘One Groom, Two Horses, No Money’ [Walled Gardens: Scenes from an Anglo-Irish Childhood by Annabel Davis-Goff]. The Washington Post Book World (3 September 1989): 1–2.Google Scholar
  7. ‘The Agonies and the Ex’s’ [Ford Madox Ford by Alan Judd]. The Spectator (16 June 1990): 31–2.Google Scholar
  8. ‘Exaggerations Rather Than Fantasies’ [The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende]. The Spectator (16 February 1991): 31–2.Google Scholar
  9. ‘Exceptionally Sane Most of the Time’ [A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897–1909 [Virginia Woolf, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska]. The New York Times Book Review (17 February 1991): 5.Google Scholar
  10. ‘After So Many Deaths, I Live and Write’ [Margery Allingham: A Biography by Julia Thorogood], The Spectator (26 October 1991): 40.Google Scholar
  11. ‘Writer in Residence: House of Character’, House and Garden (December 1991): 67–8.Google Scholar

A Bibliography of Writings about Isabel Colegate Articles and Reviews

  1. Beatty, Jack, ‘Brief Reviews’ [The Shooting Party], The New Republic (18 April 1981): 38–9.Google Scholar
  2. Bernays, Anne, ‘Nancy’s Dark and Violent Love’ [A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory]. The New York Times Book Review (17 November 1985): 33.Google Scholar
  3. Brookner, Anita, ‘The Perils of Biography’ [Deceits of Time]. The Spectator (10 September 1988): 34–5.Google Scholar
  4. Coleman, John, ‘Tea in Rumania’ [A Man of Power], The Spectator (29 January 1960): 44.Google Scholar
  5. Craig, Amanda, ‘How Isabel Became the Cinema’s Shooting Star’, The Times (6 February 1985): 11.Google Scholar
  6. Crosland, Margaret, ‘Some Women Writers’ [The Orlando Trilogy]. British Book News (May 1982): 273–8.Google Scholar
  7. Duguid, Lindsay, ‘Barking Outsiders’ [Deceits of Time], TLS (2 September 1988): 953.Google Scholar
  8. Hosmer, Robert E. Jr., ‘Isabel Colegate’, British Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, ed. Janet Todd (New York: Continuum, 1989): 151–2.Google Scholar
  9. Hosmer, Robert E. Jr., ‘Isabel Colegate’, An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers, ed. Paul AA and June Schlueter (New York: Garland, 1988): 115–17.Google Scholar
  10. Jackson, Katherine Gauss, ‘Statues in a Garden’ [Statues in a Garden], Harper’s Magazine (April 1966): 122–3.Google Scholar
  11. King, Francis, ‘Big Shots’ [The Shooting Party], The Spectator (13 September 1980): 25–6.Google Scholar
  12. King, Francis, ‘Communal’ [News from the City of the Sun], The Spectator (21 July 1979): 24.Google Scholar
  13. Lesser, Wendy, ‘The Character as Victim’ [Three Novels: The Blackmailer, A Man of Power, The Great Occasion], Hudson Review (Autumn 1984): 471–2.Google Scholar
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  15. Mallon, Thomas, ‘Over Her Head in Nazis’ [Deceits of Time], The New York Times Book Review (11 December 1988): 7.Google Scholar
  16. Mellors, John, ‘Living in Love’ [A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory], The Listener (30 May 1985): 32.Google Scholar
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  20. Pippet, Aileen, ‘The Hero Had Hammer Toes’ [Orlando King], The New York Times Book Review (25 May 1969): 46.Google Scholar
  21. Raven, Simon, ‘Outriders of the Apocalypse’ [The Great Occasion], The Spectator (4 May 1962): 597.Google Scholar
  22. Richardson, Maurice, ‘Damned Up North’ [The Great Occasion], The New Statesman (4 May 1962): 649–50.Google Scholar
  23. Sage, Lorna, ‘Havoc on the Campus’ [The Shooting Party], The Observer (7 September 1980): 29.Google Scholar
  24. Swartley, Ariel, ‘Class Acts’ [A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory], The Village Voice Literary Supplement (December 1985): 14.Google Scholar
  25. Taliaferro, Frances, ‘Colegate’s Stories In a Minor Key’ [A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory], The Washington Post Book World (12 January 1986): 9; 13.Google Scholar
  26. Turvey, Sarah, ‘Isabel Colegate,’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 14: 235–43.Google Scholar
  27. Wade, Rosalind, ‘Agatha’ [Agatha], Contemporary Review (January 1974): 46–7.Google Scholar
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  29. Webb, W. L. ‘Upstairs, Downstairs Before the Fall’ [The Shooting Party], TLS (13 February 1989): 10.Google Scholar
  30. Wickenden, Dorothy, ‘Social Climbers, Family Blunders’ [The Shooting Party], The New Republic (28 May 1984): 38–41.Google Scholar
  31. Wilce, Gillian, ‘No Abiding City’ [News from the City of the Sun], The New Statesman (13 July 1979): 63.Google Scholar


  1. Hebert, Rosemary, ‘PW Interviews Isabel Colegate’, Publishers Weekly (13 December 1985): 55–6.Google Scholar
  2. Ross, Jean W., ‘CA Interviews: Isabel Colegate’, Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 22: 84–7.Google Scholar


  1. Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 8: 108; Volume 22: 81–7.Google Scholar
  2. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 36, 108–15.Google Scholar
  3. Thornton, Lesley, ‘A Shot in the Park’, Observer Magazine (20 January 1985): 12–13;15.Google Scholar
  4. Webb, W. L., ‘Upstairs, Downstairs before the Fall’, Guardian (13 February 1981): 10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert E. Hosmer Jr. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brett T. Averitt

There are no affiliations available

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