Brookner's writing is powered by binary oppositions. In her literary and art criticism the battle is not often between eighteenth-century good sense and the effects of the succeeding Romantic debacle.
To confine sick writers to the symptoms of their disease may be fascinating, but it is not quite decent. There may be a terrible justice in Flaubert, high priest in the temple of Art, being downgraded to the subject of a learned article about the difference between hysterical and epileptic convulsions. But none of this quite explains Madame Bovary.
'Sick Servants of the Quill', Soundings