A Synopsis of Angela Carter

A radical writer just coming into her time

Photo taken from the documentary ‘Angela Carter: Of Wolves and Women’ when a couple of minutes in she says, “Okay I write overblown, purple, self-indulgent prose, so fucking what?”

Born: 7th May 1940 in Eastbourne, UK

Died: 16th February 1992 in London, UK

Despite being published in the 60s and 70s, Carter’s work is resonates with society now more than ever. In life she wasn’t as appreciated as she is today. I first come into contact with her work in the form of The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist fairy-tales. Then when looking into the expression of female sexuality I came across Nights at the Circus. She has written so much I can’t list it all here. This isn’t supposed to be a detailed biography of Carter anyway but an appreciation post.

She is clearly a feminist writer, looking to empower women. She is also a socialist. Despite her work being fantastical, it is highly political and entrenched in reality. Personally I find it easier to read about difficult topics like the ones that come with feminist writing in a world that isn’t quite our own as it allows for a level of distance from the story. It also allows for an element of surprise. Nights at the Circus is on the face of it about a circus performer not the objectification that you can find if you read between the lines. Carter was able to introduce thoughts you weren’t expecting.

She was seen as controversial at the time but she definitely paved the way for feminist writing today. I really want to read more of her work soon.

If you want to know more about Angela Carter I would highly recommend the documentary Angela Carter: Of Wolves and Women.

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