A tweet asking about the books of Angela Carter gave me the answer to ‘what do I blog about today?’ I was a long time coming to the writings of Angela Carter. She was name tucked at the back of my mind. I had no idea where it had come from. My bookshelves host nine of her works: five novels, three collections of short stories and a volume of collected journalism and writings. I must admit, I have not read many from the book journalism.
I’d heard about The Bloody Chamber, a re-telling of Bluebeard. In this collection traditional tales, previously read by or to children, are re-created with a gothic twist and vivid, sexual and often cruel characters. As a child, I was a devoted reader of fairy tales, being frightened by Grimm, enchanted by Hans Christian Anderson or just drugged to sleep by the Red, Blue, Olive, Yellow series of magical short stories. So was fascinated to read what Angela Carter had done with them. Which, much later, set off a stream of writing for me to follow. Her collection Burning Your Boats book was on the reading list for the Creative Writing MA at Chichester University. It probably still is.
Then, The Lyric Theatre at Hammersmith, produced a play of Nights at the Circus. I went and watched a naked Fevvers swinging on her trapeze, wings flying, feathers fluttering. And was transfixed. I believed.
This week the BBC on radio is broadcasting Angela Carter’s work. This afternoon (Sunday 23 September) Radio 4 gave us a dramatisation of Nights At The Circus. This evening Fiona Shaw will present An Evening with Angela Carter (R3 7.30pm) and on Monday, at the end of Woman’s Hour, you can listen to The Bloody Chamber.
If you become transfixed by Angela Carter’s work do visit the website https://usa.angelacarter.co.uk