Study Guide

Ariane Le Minier in Possession

By A.S. Byatt

Ariane Le Minier

Ariane Le Minier enters Possession in Chapter 18, by way of a letter that she has sent to Leonora Stern. An ambitious and insightful scholar of French and Breton literatures at the University of Nantes, Ariane studies the writings of Sabine de Kercoz, Christabel LaMotte's distant cousin.

It's Ariane who first discovers evidence of Christabel's visit to the de Kercoz home in 1859– 1860, and she's also the one who makes it possible for Maud Bailey and Roland Mitchell to read the journal that Sabine de Kercoz kept during her cousin's visit. Feminist colleagues for the win.

A fashionable, chic scholar who is "young, warm, and decisive, with ink-black hair carved into a precise geometric form, angled at the nape, across the brow" (19.21), Ariane shares Maud's stylish sensibility as well as her feminist values. Although she appears only briefly in Possession, she proves to be instrumental to furthering the plot and solving the mystery that lies at the heart of the novel.