A. S. Byatt, publishing in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is predominantly a novelist of ideas. Her works (stories and criticism as well as novels) are intellectually demanding, typically spinning a complex web of literary and cultural allusions. She likes depicting extreme personal situations: critic Hilary Spurling has said she is "adept at rendering disintegration."
By March 1990 ASB published Possession. A Romance, an ambitious novel about scholarly reconstruction of the nineteenth century, incorporating long passages of poetry in two pastiche Victorian styles, female and male.