Um, can you say "smart"??? Byatt is a novelist and a scholar and few are the former that can claim both identities. (Interesting, as her essay *is* about identity, at least partially.)There's no way out of narcissism, though, for either reader or writer. The writer can't help but put her own meanings into her novels and the reader can't help but draw his own personal connections from what he reads. Such is the nature of the literary transaction -- and long may it prosper!