Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Anita Brookner, the only child of Newsom and Maude Schiska Brookner, attended James Allen’s Girls’ School, received a B.A. from King’s College, University of London, and completed a Ph.D. in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She began her teaching career as a visiting lecturer at the University of Reading, where she taught from 1959 to 1964. In 1964 she became a lecturer at the Courtauld Institute, where from 1977 to 1987 she was a reader in art history with the rank of professor. She was Slade Professor at the University of Cambridge from 1967 to 1968, the first woman ever to hold the position. In 1984 Brookner won the Booker Prize for her novel Hotel du Lac, and four years later she gave up teaching to concentrate on her writing career. She was named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990.
Brookner’s writing initially grew out of her academic field of expertise, late eighteenth and early nineteenth century French painting. Her first book was Watteau, a brief introductory study of the French painter. She followed this book with a volume of six essays of comparative criticism, The Genius of the Future, Studies in French Art Criticism, in which she examined the personalities and accomplishments of Denis Diderot, Stendhal, Charles Baudelaire, Émile Zola, the Brothers Goncourt, and Joris-Karl Huysmans; this volume was a product of Brookner’s Slade lectures at Cambridge. She...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Anita Brookner was born in London, England, on July 16, 1928, to Newsom and Maude Brookner. She was educated at James Allen’s Girls’ School and King’s College, University of London, and she received a Ph.D. in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 1953. From 1959 to 1964, she was visiting lecturer at the University of Reading, Berkshire. In 1967-1968, she was Slade Professor at Cambridge University, the first woman to hold this position. From 1964 to 1988 she taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she lectured on neoclassicism and the Romantic movement. She is a fellow of New Hall of Cambridge University. In 1983, she became a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1990 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1984, Hotel du Lac won the prestigious Booker Prize.
Brookner began her career as a novelist when she was more than fifty years old as an attempt, she hinted, to understand her own powerlessness after a grand passion went wrong. Since 1981, she has published novels almost at the rate of one per year.
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Anita Brookner was born in London, England, on July 16, 1928; some references wrongly report the year as 1938. Her parents were Newson Brookner, a Polish immigrant and businessman, and Maude Schiska Brookner, who had been an opera singer before her marriage.
Brookner and her parents lived with her grandmother, part of an extended Polish Jewish family that included many aunts, uncles, and cousins. As a child she read many books by the great nineteenth century English novelist Charles Dickens. She was brought up according to Jewish traditions but because of her delicate health was never asked to learn Hebrew. Although Brookner is not religious and although she was born and reared in London, she thinks her upbringing may have caused her to feel like an outsider in English society. Critics think that many of the heroines of her novels reflect their author’s sense of estrangement.
She attended James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, a pleasant section of London south of the Thames River. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in French literature at King’s College of the University of London. She then studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, also in London, where she was awarded a doctorate. She had traveled to Paris, France, conducting research to write her dissertation, which she later revised for publication as Greuze: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon (1972).
Brookner had a...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Anita Brookner has created a number of distinctive novels. Her central characters usually are intelligent and sensitive women who yearn for love. The mood of the novels is somewhat somber because these women are foiled by many things: their own timidity, the restraints of family, and the self-centered greed of other people. Some of her later novels focus on male characters as well and describe the workings of more than one family. Readers get to know these characters well because of Brookner’s deft analyses of their motives and attitudes, as well as her descriptions of the surfaces of their lives. If the stories are unhappy, Brookner’s style is not: It is witty and imaginative.
Although some reviewers criticize Brookner’s novels as being redundant, other critics emphasize that Brookner does not repeatedly create the same plots and characters but introduces new perceptions presented through people and settings familiar to her. They maintain that her evolving insights enrich her literary style with each novel she writes. While detractors dismiss Brookner’s fiction as lacking sufficient literary substance, many scholars and readers recognize its qualities that merit continued attention.
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Novelist and art historian Anita Brookner was born on July 16, 1928, in London, the only child of Newson and Maude Brookner. Her father, who was born in Poland and was Jewish, was a company director, and her mother, also Jewish, was a former professional singer. Her father encouraged her to read, and she was reading the novels of Charles Dickens from the age of seven.
Brookner was raised in the London suburb of Herne Hill and attended James Allen's School for Girls in Dulwich. Her adolescence was not a happy one, however. Not only was her parents' marriage a stormy one, but she grew up in the shadow of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, since the family home was often filled with Jewish refugees from Europe.
Brookner attended King's College, London, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts in history in 1949. She received a Ph.D. from Courtauld Institute of Art, London, in 1953. After this she spent three years studying in Paris on a French government scholarship before teaching art history at Reading University from 1959 to 1964 and at the Courtauld Institute from 1964 to 1988, where she specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French art. In 1967, Brookner became the first female Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge University. She has written a number of books...
(The entire section is 467 words.)