Among the many symptoms of the American literary scene’s current infirmity is that stateside publishers have been slow to take on, and readers on these shores slow to discover, the English novelist of manners Penelope Fitzgerald. Though British critics have justly compared her to such writers as Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis, Barbara Pym, and Anita Brookner—all of whom have long enjoyed sizable readerships here —and though back home she has received one Booker Prize and been nominated for three others, two of her eight novels have yet to appear in U.S. editions and her name is nowhere near as well-known hereabouts as that of Pym or Brookner.[1] Why is this so? The answer is not simply that Fitzgerald, now in her seventy-fifth year, is decidedly English in setting and sensibility (so, after all, are Pym and Brookner); nor is it merely a matter of her novels’...

 
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