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Angela Carter was born in 1940 of a Scottish father and Yorkshire mother. She read English at Bristol University, and after escaping an early marriage went to live in Japan for a number of years. She wrote nine novels, which blend fantasy, science fiction and gothic, and is often referred to as a writer of magic realism. She died in 1992.
'I started to write short pieces when I was living in a room too small to write a novel in.' So says Angela Carter of this collection, written during a period living in Toyko. These exotic, sensuous stories represent Carter's first major achievement in the short story form. Lush imaginary forests, a murderous puppet show and an expressionistic vision of Japan: each one instantly conjures an atmosphere, dark and luminous in turn, and from the recognisably daring imagination of one of the great twentieth-century stylists.
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It's 1899 and all of Europe is agape at the arrival of the new century! The world crackles with possibilities - and its people dance to the irresistible rhythms of money, sex, love and freedom. Swinging above them all is a showbiz sensation; a fierce, vulgar, pant-droppingly sexy trapeze artist called Fevvers. The story charts her unlikely love affair with Walser, a world-weary journalist on a mission to expose her as a fake. Nights at the Circus opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in January 2006. Emma Rice, acclaimed Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre (Tristan & Yseult, The Bacchae) directs Angela Carter's great mythic novel. With rising star Natalia Tena as Fevvers (About a Boy, Mrs Henderson Presents and Shared Experience's Bronte & Gone to Earth) and Gisli Orn Gardarsson as Walser (Young Vic's Romeo & Juliet and Woyzeck).
This bestselling collection of stories extols the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners Here are subversive tales - by Ama Ata Aidoo, Jane Bowles, Angela Carter, Colette, Bessie Head, Jamaica Kincaid and Katherine Mansfield among others - all have one thing in common: the wish to restore adventuresses and revolutionaries to their rightful position as models for all women Reflecting the wide-ranging intelligence and deliciously anarchic taste of Angela Carter, some of these stories celebrate toughness and resilience, some of them low cunning: all of them are about not being nice.
WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY RACHEL COOKE Reading Shaking a Leg is like spending time with the funniest, wisest friend you've ever had; a person whose breadth of interest ranges from food to feminism to science fiction, and everything in between; a person with an entirely unpredictable train of thought but whose exuberance, knowledge and insight sweeps you along. Bursting with ideas, culturally astute and sparklingly witty, this comprehensive volume of Angela Carter's journalism is the most down-to-earth and entertaining companion to latter twentieth-century thought you'll ever need.
Desiderio, an employee of the city under a bizarre reality attack from Doctor Hoffman's mysterious machines, has fallen in love with Albertina, the Doctor's daughter. But Albertina, a beautiful woman made of glass, seems only to appear to him in his dreams. Meeting on his adventures a host of cannibals, centaurs and acrobats, Desiderio must battle against unreality and the warping of time and space to be with her, as the Doctor reduces Desiderio's city to a chaotic state of emergency - one ridden with madness, crime and sexual excess. A satirical tale of magic and sex, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman is a dazzling quest for truth, love and identity.
From the liars of the fantastical and fabular and from the domains of the unconscious's mysteries...lie the brides in the Bloody Chamber - hunts unwillingly the Queen of the Vampires - slips Red Riding Hood into the arms of the Wolf - pimps our Puss-In-Boots for his lustful master. In tales that glitter and haunt - strange nuggets from a writer whose wayward pen spills forth stylish, erotic, nightmarish jewels of prose - the old fairy stories live and breathe again, subtly altered, subtly changed.
Sexuality is power' - so says the Marquis de Sade, philosopher and pornographer extraordinaire. His virtuous Justine keeps to the rules laid down by men, her reward rape and humiliation; his Juliette, Justine's triumphantly monstrous antithesis, viciously exploits her sexuality. In a world where all tenderness is false, all beds are minefields. But now Sade has met his match. With invention and genius, Angela Carter takes on these outrageous figments of his extreme imagination, and transforms them into symbols of our time - the Hollywood sex goddesses, mothers and daughters, pornography, even the sacred shrines of sex and marriage lie devastatingly exposed before our eyes. Angela Carter delves into the viscera of our distorted sexuality and reveals a dazzling vision of love which admits neither of conqueror nor of conquered.
Once upon a time fairy tales weren't meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales. This stunning collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world- from the Arctic to Asia - and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty women and bad girls; enchantresses and midwives; rascal aunts and odd sisters. This fabulous celebration of strong minds, low cunning, black arts and dirty tricks could only have been collected by the unique and much-missed Angela Carter. Illustrated throughout with original woodcuts.
Sea-Cat lives at the bottom of the sea with his mother. And his mother loves him very much. In order to keep him warm and dry, Mother Cat knits Sea-Cat the most beautiful clothes and soon Sea-Cat comes to the attention of the rather grim and grey Dragon King. He wants to be as beautiful as Sea-Cat. He wants to have such fine clothes. And soon a marvellous and inspired compromise is achieved. A heart-warming tale of maternal love and the strength that a child gains from the unconditional devotion that a mother can give. This book is a small gem that willmake mothers want to read it aloud.
Centre stage in Angela Carter's unruly tale of the Flower Power Generation is Joseph - a decadent, disorientated rebel without a cause. A self-styled nihilist whose girlfriend has abandoned him, Joseph has decided to give up existing. But his concerned friends and neighbours have other plans. In an effort to join in the spirit of protest which motivates his contemporaries, Joseph frees a badger from the local zoo; sends a turd airmail to the President of the United States; falls in love with the mother of his best friend; and, accompanied by the strains of an old man's violin, celebrates Christmas Eve in a bewildering state of sexual discovery. But has he found the Meaning of Life?
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SALMAN RUSHDIE As well as her eight novels, Angela Carter published four wonderful collections of short stories during her lifetime, and contributed stories to several anthologies. The stories were scattered amongst different publishers, and a couple of the volumes are now out of print. In Burning your Boats they are gathered for the first time; this is a key collection and a major event for Angela Carter aficionados.
Extraordinary and diverse people inhabit this rich, ripe, occasionally raucous collection of short stories. Some are based on real people - Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire's handsome and reluctant muse who never asked to be called the Black Venus, trapped in the terminal ennui of the poet's passion, snatching at a little lifesaving respectability against all odds...Edgar Allen Poe, with his face of a actor, demonstrating in every thought and deed how right his friends were when they said 'No man is safe who drinks before breakfast.' And some of these people are totally imaginary. Such as the seventeenth century whore, transported to Virginia for thieving, who turns into a good woman in spite of herself among the Indians, who have nothing worth stealing. And a girl, suckled by wolves, strange and indifferent as nature, who will not tolerate returning to humanity. Angela Carter wonderfully mingles history, fiction, invention, literary criticism, high drama and low comedy in a glorious collection of stories as full of contradictions and surprises as life itself.
The scar drew her whole face sideways and even in profile, with the hideous thing turned away, her face was horribly lop-sided, skin, features and all, dragged away from the bone. She was a beautiful girl, a white and golden girl, like moonlight on daisies, a month ago.' And yet the men still hover around her, more out of curiosity than lust, and none more so than the wildly seductive, dangerous funny man, Honeybuzzard; lithe as a stick of liquorice, he is the demonic puppet master at the swirling centre of the tale. 'In a modern day horror story gleaming with perfect 1960's detail, she performs a double act, conjuring up just the right amount of unease and perversion beneath the idiosyncratic business of relatively ordinary lives' THE TIMES
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover the truth behind her identity. Dazzled by his love for her, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser has no choice but to join the circus on its magical tour through turn-of-the-nineteenth-century London, St Petersburg and Siberia. **One of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World**
I know nothing. I am a tabula rasa, a blank sheet of paper, an unhatched egg. I have not yet become a woman, although I possess a woman's shape. Not a woman, no: both more and less than a real woman. Now I am a being as mythic and monstrous as Mother herself . . . ' New York has become the City of Dreadful Night where dissolute Leilah performs a dance of chaos for Evelyn. But this young Englishman's fate lies in the arid desert, where a many-breasted fertility goddess will wield her scalpel to transform him into the new Eve.
In the pursuit of magnificence, nothing is sacred,' says Angela Carter, and magnificence is indeed her own achievement. One of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation, her work as a journalist and critic was no less original. Long autobiographical pieces on her life in South Yorkshire and South London are followed by highly individual inspections of 'abroad'. Some of her most brilliant writing is devoted to Japan - exotically and erotically described here - so perfectly suited to the Carter pen. Domestically, Angela Carter used her mordant wit and accurate eye to inspect England and Englishness as it manifested itself throughout the land. Then she turns to her own craft, and her extraordinarily wide-ranging book reviews are masterpieces.