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Angela Carter

Angela Carter English novelist

English novelist
Angela Carter
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English novelist
Known for Nights at the Circus
Was Linguist Screenwriter Writer Novelist Translator Journalist Science fiction writer Children's writer Author
From United Kingdom
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Journalism Literature Social science
Gender female
Birth 7 May 1940, Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Death 16 February 1992, London, UK (aged 51 years)
Star sign TaurusTaurus
The details

Biography

Angela Olive Carter (later Pearce) (née Stalker; 7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992), who published under the name Angela Carter, was an English novelist, short story writer, poet, and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. She is best known for her book The Bloody Chamber, which was published in 1979. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Biography

Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, to Sophia Olive (née Farthing; 1905–1969), a cashier at Selfridge's, and journalist Hugh Alexander Stalker (1896–1988), Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. After attending Streatham and Clapham High School, in south London, she began work as a journalist on The Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.

She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter, divorcing in 1972. In 1969, she used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, where she claims in Nothing Sacred (1982) that she "learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised". She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972).

She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977, Carter met Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son and whom she married shortly before her death. In 1979, both The Bloody Chamber, and her feminist essay, The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography, appeared. In the essay, according to the writer Marina Warner, Carter "deconstructs the arguments that underlie The Bloody Chamber. It's about desire and its destruction, the self-immolation of women, how women collude and connive with their condition of enslavement. She was much more independent-minded than the traditional feminist of her time."

As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in Shaking a Leg. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for film: The Company of Wolves (1984) and The Magic Toyshop (1987). She was actively involved in both adaptations; her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel Nights at the Circus won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. Her last novel, Wise Children, is a surreal wild ride through British theatre and music hall traditions.

At the time of her death, Carter had started work on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens; only a synopsis survives.

Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

Works

Novels

  • Shadow Dance (1966, also known as Honeybuzzard)
  • The Magic Toyshop (1967)
  • Several Perceptions (1968)
  • Heroes and Villains (1969)
  • Love (1971)
  • The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972, also known as The War of Dreams)
  • The Passion of New Eve (1977)
  • Nights at the Circus (1984)
  • Wise Children (1991)

Short fiction collections

  • Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (1974; also published as Fireworks: Nine Stories in Various Disguises and Fireworks)
  • The Bloody Chamber (1979)
  • The Bridegroom (1983) (Uncollected short story)
  • Black Venus (1985; published as Saints and Strangers in the United States)
  • American Ghosts and Old World Wonders (1993)
  • Burning Your Boats (1995)

Poetry collections

  • Five Quiet Shouters (1966)
  • Unicorn (1966)
  • Unicorn: The Poetry of Angela Carter (2015)

Dramatic works

  • Come Unto These Yellow Sands: Four Radio Plays (1985)
  • The Curious Room: Plays, Film Scripts and an Opera (1996) (includes Carter's screenplays for adaptations of The Company of Wolves and The Magic Toyshop; also includes the contents of Come Unto These Golden Sands: Four Radio Plays)

Children's books

  • The Donkey Prince (1970, illustrated by Eros Keith)
  • Miss Z, the Dark Young Lady (1970, illustrated by Eros Keith)
  • Comic and Curious Cats (1979, illustrated by Martin Leman)
  • Moonshadow (1982) illustrated by Justin Todd
  • Sea-Cat and Dragon King (2000, illustrated by Eva Tatcheva)

Non-fiction

  • The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography (1979)
  • Nothing Sacred: Selected Writings (1982)
  • Expletives Deleted: Selected Writings (1992)
  • Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writing (1997)

She wrote two entries in "A Hundred Things Japanese" published in 1975 by the Japan Culture Institute. ISBN 0-87040-364-8 It says "She has lived in Japan both from 1969 to 1971 and also during 1974" (p. 202).

As editor

  • Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology of Subversive Stories (1986)
  • The Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1990) a.k.a. The Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book
  • The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1992) a.k.a. Strange Things Still Sometimes Happen: Fairy Tales From Around the World (1993)
  • Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales (2005) (collects the two Virago Books above)

As translator

Film adaptations

  • The Company of Wolves (1984) adapted by Carter with Neil Jordan from her short story of the same name, "Wolf-Alice" and "The Werewolf"
  • The Magic Toyshop (1987) adapted by Carter from her novel of the same name, and directed by David Wheatley

Radio plays

  • Vampirella (1976) written by Carter and directed by Glyn Dearman for BBC. Formed the basis for the short story "The Lady of the House of Love".
  • Come Unto These Yellow Sands (1979)
  • The Company of Wolves (1980) adapted by Carter from her short story of the same name, and directed by Glyn Dearman for BBC
  • Puss-in-Boots (1982) adapted by Carter from her short story and directed by Glyn Dearman for BBC
  • A Self-Made Man (1984)

Television

  • The Holy Family Album (1991)
  • Omnibus: Angela Carter's Curious Room (1992)

Works on Angela Carter

Commemoration

English Heritage unveiled a blue plaque at Carter's final home at 107, The Chase in Clapham, South London in September 2019. She wrote many of her books in the sixteen years she lived at the address, as well as tutoring the young Kazuo Ishiguro.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 18 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-50-greatest-british-writers-since-1945-ws3g69xrf90
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/dec/06/angela-carter-uk-oldest-literary-prize
https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-50941
//doi.org/10.1093%2Fref:odnb%2F50941
https://web.archive.org/web/20180307101014/http://angelacartersite.co.uk/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/5899665/Angela-Carter.html
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/jun/10/angelacarter
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/angela-carters-feminist-mythology
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/22/the-invention-of-angela-carter-a-biography-by-edmund-gordon-review
//www.worldcat.org/issn/0261-3077
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/01/angela-carter-far-from-fairytale-edmund-gordon
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