Someone once told British journalist and novelist Hilary Mantel that she had an eye for detail. Her fiction, however, is not only concerned with the observable world: her eye sees beneath and beyond the appearance of things. It recognizes the monstrous in the mundane and the transcendent in the prosaic. In an apparently diverse body of work, she returns frequently to those liminal places where the apparently stable boundaries of material experience seem threatened with dissolution. In her autobiography,

Giving up the Ghost

(2003), she describes an encounter with a nameless terror at the age of seven, “something intangible […] some formless, borderless evil”; this presence lurks in the pages of her novels and her Gothic sensibility gives the writing much of its power.

Mantel’s body

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Citation: Zlosnik, Sue. "Hilary Mantel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 November 2010; last revised 25 January 2023. [, accessed 29 February 2024.]

12258 Hilary Mantel 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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