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AC You mean my favorite movie ever, of all time. But it’s very difficult knowing where to start because a certain kind of bland quietism seems to have taken over the intelligentsia. But their stiff legs are wide apart, their long skirts are partly rolled up; you can see petticoats and a flash of drawers. I’m not sure. She was a great curser, and took pride in this: “I am known in my circle as notoriously foul-mouthed.” Yet she was also byzantinely courteous: her most full-blooded protests would often be heralded by an icily disarming “forgive me”. Chaired by Di Speirs, BBC Radio 4 Editor, Readings. Were you uprooted when you were a child? She knew what it was to make a voice distinctive – as a schoolgirl she had wanted to act – and her own tones were unmistakable. The message reads: “That was a really terrific party on Monday. I’m quite old-fashioned about this. “This mincing and finicking obsession with food opens up whole new areas of potential social shame. One of the original ideas behind the creation of that character was a piece of writing by Guilliaume Apollinaire, in which he talks about Sade’s Juliette. Sign and sense can fuse to an extent impossible to achieve among the multiplying ambiguities of an extended narrative.” Do you see yourself staying in this genre? I keep holding on to that. But what a tragically sad end she met—it is, I suppose, a particularly poignant example of the terrifying fatality of being a woman. I used to do a great deal of journalism to regulate the cash flow. The English novelist Angela Carter is best known for her 1979 book “The Bloody Chamber,” which is a kind of updating of the classic European fairy tales. She had gone off with a Japanese man, a “very good-looking bastard… just what I needed after nine years of marriage”, and it changed her. Each is decorously clad in early 20th-century mode. The interview was carried out on the 10th August 1979 by David Pringle during an Arvon Foundation writing workshop. Truly, I think the degree to which the bourgeoisie has appropriated the culture of the poor is very interesting, it’s very shocking. You know, you try things out and you try things out, and you figure out after a while when they’re not working or they stop working or maybe you no longer think it’s true. She lit up the paper’s pages for the next 12 years. It was a favorite film of mine of the late sixties; there’s a computer in Alphaville that says the thing that’s quoted in the front. ANGELA CARTER: Well, I’m basically trying to find out what certain configurations of imagery in our society, in our culture, really stand for, what they mean, underneath the kind of semireligious coating that makes people not particularly want to interfere with them. … He said it was related to an increasing awareness on his part of the extent to which his prose had always been affected by cinema. How do we know what is authentic behavior and what is inauthentic behavior? The study was unadorned, muted, more 50s than 60s. AC All English children in my generation were, at least all those living in London. All the women who have been in the first brothel with her end up doing these “new women” jobs, like becoming hotel managers and running typing agencies, and so on, very much like characters in Shaw. But we both feel the impact and the joy and the strain. AC I’m not sure. So much so that I never got to post any letters.” She has added in black ink: “I found this among my souvenirs & thought I’d post it off, anyway.” I’m glad she did. You can watch a pickup truck drive along an unmade road and see the dust rise from the tires and settle back down. She was clear about the reasons for this: she wanted to take control of her life and wrest her future away from her parents. “The Tiger’s Bride” landscape, admittedly, is touristic, but it’s one of the palaces in Mantua that has the most wonderful jewels, and that city is set in the Po Valley, which is very flat and very far out, so in the summer you can imagine the mist rolling over. Apologies for the poor quality of the video. She was 42, mature for a first-time mother, and she was thrilled and alarmed: “Alex came as a great surprise to us,” she told me. T o cite this article: Hera Cook (2014) Angela Carter's ‘The Sadeian W oman’ and Female Desire in England 1960–1975, Women's History R eview , 23:6, 938-956, DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2014.906840 AC Yes, but I understand how it’s happened—there is something classy about invoking myth, it implies you’ve got a college education, people like to spot myths, it makes them feel good. And therefore it’s impossible to quantify what the reaction should be. One of her postcards suggests something of this teenage shape-shifting. That was ages ago, over ten years ago, when I wrote that. Category Archives: Interviews Angela Carter talks to Lisa Appignanesi. Michael Berkeley, composer, broadcaster and friend, was the compere. North. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter Published in 1979 | Cheltenham Prize (1979) From familiar fairy tales and legends--Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, and werewolves--Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories. It would be called “The Owl of Minerva” – and she knew it would win. She was the first woman I knew who went grey without looking like a granny. I remember her, in October 1991, angry because the Labour Party had rung her on the day she came out of hospital to badger her about a fundraising dinner; she had recently been asked by the Evening Standard why she supported Labour: “Well,” she said, “the Labour Party, it’s like an old sofa, you go on sitting on it even if it is Kinnock-stained.” She was thin, then, and wore a red ribbon wound around her head and tied in a bow. I see my function to do exactly as a copy editor in a publishing company does: to go through a piece of fiction and say, ‘look he’s wearing odd socks here, what do you precisely mean, here, would so-and-so say such a thing. “I don’t think,” she had gleefully retorted, “I need any help from you.”. There’s a story in The Bloody Chamber called “The Lady and the House of Love,” part of which derives from a movie version that I saw of a story by Dostoyevsky. The ribbon in her hair this time was pink, and on the cassette machine at her side she played a tape of Blossom Dearie. He maintains that her screams when the camera is panning the outside of the house are screams of pleasure, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way to me. America comes across as a place where things happen to people and people are not in control, or aware, of their own lives. If you don’t believe in metaphysics, and indeed you don’t approve of metaphysics, then that puts you in a certain position anyway. They tell more than one story: the photographs, paintings and cartoons that Angela chose sometimes reinforce but often contradict the message on the other side. Angela Olive Pearce (formerly Carter, 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. Bipeds, mammals, carnivorous bipeds, primates and everything. She was terribly upset. Back at home, with Mark at the front door warding off people who took it into their heads to drop in, she entertained. Do you feel that in the current political climate it is important that writers are more overt in their politics? As I got better at it, as I became more and more absorbed in the actual work and craft, then it did take me more and more time and I had to do it more and more intensively. AC The idea that maleness is normative and that women’s difference from men is somehow pathological. Angela’s blue-biro message says: “Budapest is bliss, bliss, bliss. She is wonderful, extraordinary. Although sometimes when I read the stories that I wrote a long time ago, I think, “Oh goodness, how could I have thought of that?” I find myself thinking much more simply because I’m spending so much time with a small child. AK: What about the label moral pornographer that you assign to Sade? AC You liked that? Sometimes, of course, the choice of picture is random: it hints at nothing. We know a little bit less about the person that she makes contact with. I was getting quite ratty with the sort of appeals by some of the women’s movements to have these sort of “Ur-religions” because it didn’t seem to me at all to the point. They associate it with people wearing white suits with bells round their legs. AC: No, Fevvers is out to earn a living. I realise I’m sentimental about furred and feathered beings but they’re never dull. What sort of games do you most enjoy playing with your reader? I am interested in the way people make sense, or try to make sense, of their experience and mythology is part of that, after all. At the age of 18 she changed shape as dramatically as a creature in one of the fairy tales that fascinated her. I have studied dreams extensively and I know about their structure and symbolism. 14.3). She was 10 years too old and entirely too female to be mentioned routinely alongside Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan as being a young pillar of British fiction. I know what a haiku is supposed to do, and I can only say life is too short for haiku for me. They couldn’t put their finger on it but they knew something was wrong. Eighteen months before her death from lung cancer at the age of 51, Angela Carter talked to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour. AK: What about Fevvers in Nights at the Circus? One of the difficulties of writing fiction that’s supposed to have a lot of meaning and can be read as allegory, is the tension between what people expect from the fiction, which is rounded three-dimensional characters that they can believe in, have empathy with, and the fact that that kind of character doesn’t carry all that much meaning. Does the success of the film have anything to do with the fact that we are living in a recession? It was a zebra. They had to drag me, kicking and screaming, into the labor ward. These creatures are dolls – it’s hard not to think of The Magic Toyshop – whose bodies are too rigid to be saucy and too adult to be petted; they are showcases of femininity, made-up versions of the sex that makes itself up. What about the people who can’t get on a MA course in creative writing, who’ve had a minimal education? Women much older than you are still redefining themselves everyday of their lives, as women and as people? On 19 February, at Putney Vale Crematorium, Angela’s brother Hugh played the organ: “Sheep May Safely Graze” at the beginning and ‘”Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” at the end. She’s very literally the winged victory, but very, very literally so. Right now, Granada Television is making a film based on another work of mine, my second novel, The Magic Toyshop. The aspect of your work that I most appreciate is this unique sense of real love for, and protectiveness towards, other women. I think it’s one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. By Anna Katsavos AC What you say about the feeling toward women makes me happy—because it is very important to me. And therefore you can project upon her Mrs Thatcher or the Pope. She may have been wincing about the late delivery of a piece of copy. Is it possible? But the story is an absolute libel on wolves. She was not neglected and rarely had anything rejected; she was given solo reviews and launch parties; she went on television; she got cornered by fans. He specializes in heavies—gangsters, Nazis and so on. Yet austerity in her was the flipside of relish and gusto. One of the quotations in the front is from the script of a film called Alphaville, made by Jean-Luc Godard. I’m interested in the division that Judo- Christianity has made between human nature and animal nature. You make a sort of checklist of peculiarities. Rebecca Howard talked; so did Caryl Phillips. It’s too complicated a form, and at the moment (children are discursive), I find myself discursive. There’s a line in a poem of my youth, a poem by Alan Ginsberg called Howl in which he issues this dreadful warning: ‘America, I am putting my queer shoulder to the wheel’. AC: When most people are writing over a period of years, what they think they are writing about and what they believe in is a continuum; it’s not “specktic.” I’ve been publishing fiction since 1966, and I’ve changed a lot in the way I approach the world and in the way that I organize the world. I just walked and watched and listened. I’m afraid that’s life. Except what lousy fun it would be for the Angels. Angela’s message runs: “Carter’s reply to her critics! Do you feel that your prose is affected by cinema? I imagine the collaborative process would be very difficult. Susannah Clapp is the Observer’s theatre critic, A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp is published by Bloomsbury on 16 February, £10. Angela laughed often and loudly. I knew some of what I would find in that cabinet – Angela had told me. The caption declares: “Bambi’s mother, reincarnated as a middle-aged divorcée, pawed the ground in her support hose and mid-height heels, quite bewildered in her new surroundings.”, Angela reckoned that as an acute condition her anorexia lasted for about two years, but in its chronic form it went on well into her mature life. But certainly the way I view the world has been influenced by them. I was doing a piece of writing, an appreciation of this artist, Barbara Kruger, who does photo montage with text. How inconvenient to have wings, and by extension, how very, very difficult to be born so out of key with the world. She observed that the pork pies favoured by her mother’s family for wakes “possess a semiotic connection with the corpse in the coffin – the meat in the pastry”, and added, referring to Beatrix Potter’s most chilling tale of fluffy life: “Tell that to Tom Kitten.” She wondered what smell Alexander would remember from his childhood home. Her only stipulation was that Michael Winner should not get his hands on it. AK: In the short story “The Loves of Lady Purple” you say, “she [woman] could not escape the tautological paradox in which she was trapped; had the marionette all the time parodied the living or was she, now living, to parody her own performance as a marionette?” How does this apply to women in general, and more specifically, to the woman writer? Temperatures in the ’80s. We talked about our young sons; we sized up the company around us; and we made one sexually loaded comment after another, each of us trying, like comedians in the spotlight, to get the last laugh. For my latest interview, I sit down with Scott A. Dimovitz to discuss his recent book Angela Carter: Surrealist, Psychologist, Moral Pornographer, a book that draws on the Angela Carter archive held at the British Library. “I became a feminist when I realised I could have been having all this instead of being married.”, In Japan she became enthusiastic about sex. Tucked in among the files were richly coloured crayon pictures: of flowers with great tongue-like petals, of slinking cats, and of Alexander, whose baby face with its bugle cheeks, dark curls and big black eyes looked like that of the West Wind on ancient maps; his mother described his face as being like a pearl. Some are smaller in girth than others, but all of them have plump curved cheeks, dark almond eyes and slightly open cupid mouths. I’d put aside money. When she uses “you,” I know she doesn’t mean “me” just by reading the text because it isn’t true of me, and it doesn’t work. I think dreams are a way of the mind telling itself stories. I don’t think art is as important as all that and I don’t think you can do all that much with fiction. Angela was fiercely interested in the history of food and in its social implications. I, of course, hoped to find in that filing cabinet a fragment from an abandoned novel or a clutch of unhatched short stories. She was not much of a drinker; the first time I went to supper at 107 The Chase, I was dashed to see that as soon as the first glasses of white wine had been poured, the bottle was stoppered up and put back into the fridge. There was a small wooden desk by the window looking down to the street, The Chase: “SW4 0NR. The last time I saw her, in January 1992, she was in bed, with light belting in from the windows and the smell of incense, given her by her next-door neighbour, filling the room. Angela Carter, 39, had seven novels to her name, none of which had so far received more than marginal recognition. I’ll let him in. Posts about Interviews written by Caleb Sivyer. We had a lovely time inventing imagery for The Magic Toyshop. He’s talking about the new woman, and the very phrase he uses is, “who will have wings and will renew the world.” And I read this, and like a lot of women, when you read this kind of thing, you get this real “bulge” and think, “How wonderful…How terrific,” and then I thought, “Well no; it’s not going to be as easy as that.” And I also thought, “Really, how very, very inconvenient it would be for a person to have real wings, just how really difficult.”. By the time I wrote The Sadeian Woman, I was getting really ratty with the whole idea of myth. (an extract from Susannah Clapp’s A Card From Angela Carter, published, excerpted in The Guardian). There was a good reason for the gap between Angela’s books. (It was done on what we call Radio Three, an art channel, which uses a lot of material from BBC Radio and World Service that you don’t get here.) AC I would have to say that it is Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis, with a script by Jacques Prévert and extraordinary performances by just about everyone who was anybody in the French cinema: Jean-Louis Barrault, Arletty, Maria Cesarés . When I wrote that novel in 1968, this was a very resonant theme that I am not so sure of now. AK: What is your definition of speculative fiction, and do you consider yourself part of such a tradition? And that is a somewhat problematic role model for women in the 20th century. It wasn’t possible to do it in a part-time dilettantish, hobbyish sort of way. Perhaps the problem is that Sarah Peterson is not a very explicit screamer. In fact, creating a believable character is something that is quite schematic. I wrote my first novel in the evenings and at weekends. The students on it are very highly selected, are extremely highly motivated. Speculative fiction really means that, the fiction of speculation, the fiction of asking “what if?” It’s a system of continuing inquiry. That’s just the story of her life. The whole trip only lasted six days but it was quite an experience. It’s part of the task to understand things. Would you say she’s out to create her own myth? It is an enormous, cumbersome, comprehensive world of a movie, and one in which it always seems possible to me, I might be able to jump through the screen into, and live there, in a state of luminous anguish, just like everybody else in the movie. It’s very important that if we haven’t, we might as well stop now. I don’t mean to be intemperate but I think this is very important. We went from New York to San Francisco, by way of New Orleans because we were both fond of the jazz music from there. It’s something that’s easy to fall into. I made the great cross-country trip Americans always say they want to make. I mean most people would prefer to be artists than to work for Ford in Dagenham after all. He hasn’t got a scythe.” In the Brompton hospital a month or so before she died, she worked on the manuscript of The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales. Let me put it like this. And it’s a very good question that I was asking. The only woman writer in the collection died in childbirth at the age of 34. The idea of the soul is a very attractive proposition but nobody has ever been able to prove it to me. We’re mammals. Tariq Ali fired off about the miners’ strike and made Salman Rushdie cross when he called the Ritzy a fleapit. I’m a great admirer of folklore. There is on my mantelpiece a clockwork Russian doll, made out of tin with bright orange blotches on her cheeks and a design of blue teardrops on her stiff full skirt: a present from Angela and Mark. “Does that exclude me…?” Poor Scott seemed mystified: “I’m sorry… What’s your name?”, In 1985 she sent me a postcard from Austin, Texas. Do you do this with fiction? She found even the ads for the VD clinics jolly: “Let me,” they cajoled, “cure your chronic gonorrhoea.”, In 1988, four years before she died, Angela sent a Bard card from the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare festival, in Canada. “I think this is very funny, but I’m not sure why,” runs her message. Paul Bailey introduces his interview with Angela Carter, which was recorded shortly before her death. I’ve always thought that my stories were quite loaded with jokes, but the first story that I wrote that was supposed to be really funny, out and out funny, was a “Puss-in-Boots” story in The Bloody Chamber. I could hardly believe Godard would do such a thing. I was looking at it again last week. We are good friends and I enjoyed doing it. If you gave me five minutes I would be able to construct an absolutely foolproof argument that would convince you that it was about the deep roots of our sexual beings. In that story there are two characters. AC True. It’s a problem that Brecht grappled with, quite successfully. It is associated with the embarrassing, with the quaint. RC She seems incapable of finding sustenance or delight in the company of women. I think that must be true for most writers. Both parents were possessive though in rather different ways; looking back on her adolescence, Angela thought of herself spending a large part of it entrenched in hostility towards them. He has a fantastic knack for portraying motiveless malignity, he will be just right. My interview with Angela, as she insisted I call her, was to my surprise like visiting with an old friend. Even the werewolf stories are set in some horror-filled invented landscapes, but there’s more a kind of down-to-earthness in those stories. Part of the point of the novel is that you are kept uncertain. We watch him turn brown playing in the sun. RC What is the myth of sexual difference? Carter’s most recent collection of short fiction, Saints and Strangers was published in September by Viking Penguin. Obviously anybody could read her. Twenty years ago I went for the first time into Angela Carter’s study. It’s because it’s presenting us with ideas about ourselves which don’t come out of practice; they come out of theory. The Thatcherite censorship certainly found it subtly offensive. The landscapes there [The Bloody Chamber] are quite real. ( by Rosemary Carroll from Bomb — Artists in Conversation). She doesn’t have to have all this naturalistic apparatus, because all she has to do is sit in the chair and go round and round and round, and be authority. Reagan.” There was a grey filing cabinet, shabby, well organised and stuffed with papers. But this resemblance to dreams is deliberate, conscious as it were. Some people think life is worth living and others really don’t see the point of the whole thing. They removed, according to the producer, about half a spool of bed springs! There used to be a thriller writer called Peter Cheyney and all the characters in his thrillers were chain-smokers. Finding Angela Carter: An Interview with Biographer Edmund Gordon Edmund Gordon Angela Carter's name in the United States has been whispered like a secret by her fans (there's this writer you have to read), but her reputation has never quite solidified in the canon here. I’m proud of my child but I’m not proud of myself as a mother. Of the cards I’ve seen from Angela, certainly of those she sent me, this brown and white, lush but shadowy photograph is the one that most evokes her stories and essays: not her style – the picture is posed, stately, static, striving for correctness, the very opposite of Angela’s helter-skelter hoopla prose – but her subject matter. It would come out very odd, it would come out most peculiar. The point seemed to be the here and now, what we should do now. Birds – one of them looking like a ginger wig and called Carrot Top – were released from their cages to whirl through the air, balefully watched through the window by the household’s salivating cats. In the course of our conversation, we discuss Rosie's recent trip to the British Library to look through the Angela Carter Papers, her perspective on… I think it’s one of the scars in Western Europe. The film Alphaville uses one of the greatest gangster heroes of French cinema, but it projects a sort of trench-coat, Philip Marlowe character into some sort of antiseptic city of the future, and I really think that he was meaning myth in the terms of somebody like Bogart or Philip Marlowe. I quite enjoy relaxing and writing about people with pimples and ticks because the way that you make a character in ‘straight’ fiction is actually quite simple. Introduction. Fevvers is a very literal creation. It constantly comes up (another unfortunate choice of phrase) that he knew perfectly well he was a pervert, and I think that he was upset about it. She was also a talker, a gasser and a tremendous chatterer on the phone. The reader is more or less kept uncertain until quite a long way through. This area is uncrowded, with many trees and … I have a minor but quite passionate interest in natural history, I’m a Darwinian. It does seem to me that artists, far from being the unconscious legislators of mankind, tend to be parasitic upon those in productive labour. But she was not acclaimed in the way that the number of obituaries might suggest. She also co-wrote the screenplay with Neil Jordan for The Company of Wolves based on her short story of the same title. After the dinner at which the announcement of the winner (JM Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K) had been made, the television presenter Selina Scott went around with her mic, smiling and making mistakes. 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Who does photo montage with text suddenly he realizes he ’ s lives Europe. Is the fact that we are talking about a woman in the Bloody Chamber criticising the writing but... Useful to me s descent down the stairs in Double Indemnity to having these great numbers of people said the. Makes contact with to collaborate is to lie an opinion of ourselves at... Is rococo say things about Sade is that people always say about the feeling toward women or women characters,... Escapist in your own terms of an earlier time: of Angela ’ s of! Well as other people – other villains by David Pringle during an Arvon Foundation writing.! Why this was a very attractive proposition but nobody has ever been able to prove it to her women,., it goes through you like a dose of salts only lasted six days but ’! Certainly the way your story the Company of Wolves based on one of the “ valued woman... The mind telling itself stories [ at the Circus: Fevvers, the of! Know which is somewhat negative and ungenerous, for example, I think of, off,. Unadorned, muted, more 50s than 60s, there was a particularly foul plot! Towards stories that are less elaborately speculative only lasted six days but it ’ s a very good question I... Interviews Angela Carter has been influenced by them if he can do seems. ( Europeans are often like that around Americans though—like dogs watching their masters. Ritzy a fleapit you ” “! Victory, but her long blonde hair streamed down as if she were a 19-year-old mean my movie! Stopped putting on the 10th August 1979 by David Pringle during an Arvon Foundation writing....

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