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Angela Carter

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Title: Angela Carter  
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Subject: Wise Children, Nights at the Circus, The Bloody Chamber, The Passion of New Eve, James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Collection: 1940 Births, 1992 Deaths, 20Th-Century British Novelists, 20Th-Century English Novelists, 20Th-Century Translators, 20Th-Century Women Writers, Academics of the University of East Anglia, Academics of the University of Sheffield, Alumni of the University of Bristol, British Women Short Story Writers, Cancer Deaths in England, Deaths from Lung Cancer, English Feminist Writers, English Feminists, English Short Story Writers, English Socialists, English Translators, English Women Novelists, James Tait Black Memorial Prize Recipients, John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Winners, Magic Realism Writers, People from Eastbourne, Socialist Feminists, Women Translators
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Angela Carter

Angela Carter
Born Angela Olive Stalker
(1940-05-07)7 May 1940
Eastbourne, England
Died 16 February 1992(1992-02-16) (aged 51)
London, England
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British

Angela Olive Carter-Pearce (née Stalker; 7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) who published as Angela Carter, was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[1] In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.[2]


  • Biography 1
  • Works 2
    • Novels 2.1
    • Short fiction 2.2
    • Poetry collections 2.3
    • Dramatic works 2.4
    • Children's books 2.5
    • Non-fiction 2.6
    • As editor 2.7
    • As translator 2.8
    • Film adaptations 2.9
    • Radio plays 2.10
    • Television 2.11
  • Works on Angela Carter 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, to Sophia Olive (née Farthing; 1905-1969) and Hugh Alexander Stalker (1896-1988), Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled against anorexia. After attending Streatham & 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.[3]

She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter, divorcing in 1972.[4] 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 married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son.[4] In 1979, both The Bloody Chamber, and her influential 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."[5]

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.

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.[6]

Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.[7]



Short fiction

Poetry collections

  • Five Quiet Shouters (1966)
  • Unicorn (1966)

Dramatic works

Children's books


She wrote two entries in "A Hundred Things Japanese" copyright 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) aka The Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book
  • The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1992) aka 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

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)


Works on Angela Carter

  • , Paris: Editions Le Manuscrit, UniversitéThe Bloody Chamber d'Angela CarterMilne, Andrew (2006),
  • , Paris: Editions Le Manuscrit UniversitéAngela Carter's The Bloody Chamber: A Reader's GuideMilne, Andrew (2007),
  • 21.1 (2010): 1-19.Lit: Literature Interpretation TheoryDimovitz, Scott A., 'I Was the Subject of the Sentence Written on the Mirror: Angela Carter's Short Fiction and the Unwriting of the Psychoanalytic Subject.'
  • XVII (2009): 83-111.Genre.' The Passion of New Eve and The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor HoffmanDimovitz, Scott A., 'Angela Carter’s Narrative Chiasmus:
  • , 6:2 (December 2005): 15–31.FEMSPEC: An Interdisciplinary Feminist JournalDimovitz, Scott A., 'Cartesian Nuts: Rewriting the Platonic Androgyne in Angela Carter’s Japanese Surrealism'.
  • . Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen PressBody-Texts in the Novels of Angela Carter. Writing from a Corporeagraphic PerspectiveKérchy, Anna (2008),
  • London: The Greenwich ExchangeFocus on The Bloody Chamber and Other StoriesTopping, Angela (2009),


  1. ^ The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. 5 January 2008. The Times. Retrieved on 2010-03-05.
  2. ^ Alison Flood (6 December 2012). "Angela Carter named best ever winner of James Tait Black award".  
  3. ^ "Angela Carter - Biography". The Guardian. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Angela Carter - Biography". European Graduate School. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Marina Warner, speaking on Radio Three's the Verb, February 2012
  6. ^ Clapp, Susannah (29 January 2006). "The greatest swinger in town". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Sarah Waters (3 October 2009). "My hero: Angela Carter". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 

Further reading

Wisker, Gina. " At Home all was Blood and Feathers: The Werewolf in the Kitchen - Angela Carter and Horror"." In Clive Bloom (ed), Creepers: British Horror and Fantasy in the Twentieth Century. London and Boulder CO: Pluto Press, 1993, pp. 161–75.

External links

  • Official website of the Estate of Angela Carter
  • Angela Carter at British Council: Literature
  • BBC interview (Video, 25 June 1991, 25 mins)
  • Petri Liukkonen. "Angela Carter". Books and Writers ( Archived from the original on 4 July 2013.
  • Angela Carter at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • 3 May 2010Daily Telegraph"Angela Carter remembered"
  • A Conversation with Angela Carter by Anna Katsavos
  • Angela Carter in conversation about her life and work, 1988, British Library
  • Essay on Colette Vol. 2 No. 19 · 2 October 1980 London Review of Books by Angela Carter.
  • Angela Carter's radio work
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