A kite hung from the ceiling of the sitting room, the shelves supported menageries of wooden animals, books were piled on chairs. Societies have never placed a very high value on the reproductive capacity of their women. It is associated with the embarrassing, with the quaint. To mark the 77th anniversary of her birth, I am proud to make available a never-before published interview with Angela Carter. Still, she herself stopped putting on the Ritz. 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. It’s a problem that Brecht grappled with, quite successfully. That’s just what she says, a story that’s being constructed. It’s part of the task to understand things. But she was not acclaimed in the way that the number of obituaries might suggest. Category Archives: Interviews Angela Carter talks to Lisa Appignanesi. One of the most radical things about her is that she assumes that most of the people who are going to be looking at her pieces are going to be female. RC Yes, that and The Fall River Axe Murders. They associate it with people wearing white suits with bells round their legs. Obviously, depression and recession are great for the entertainment industry and a certain kind of escapist movie is obviously going to be very big at this point in time. Like Scandinavia with liquor.” At the time she sent this card, Angela was dreaming up Wise Children, her last novel, and her Shakespeare book, a buoyant wise-cracker about hoofing and singing twins. She had told me that she kept journals and described the shape they took. They tried covering the floor with water, but that didn’t work and she couldn’t just dive into the floor. RC Much of your work seems to exist in the borderline area between consciousness and dreams. I’m interested in justice, really. Salman Rushdie read Andrew Marvell’s poem “On a Drop of Dew”. Donnaly promises to make Jewel a politician, king of all the Yahoos and all the Professors, saying, “they need a myth as passionately as anyone else; they need a hero.”. I was afraid that would really hurt his chance to make future films. 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. One changes all the time but I can’t get into the habit of thinking that my being has changed completely just because I’ve done what most women do. But it’s obvious that it’s a real person even though she’s just hinted at. Assuming that is valid, its antithesis leaves us with the earth-mother-goddess as the essence of the “valued” woman. “Oh,” she said to the artist Corinna Sargood on the phone, soon after the news of her illness had broken, “A man’s coming to the door.” Pause. When I do it I like it but I have no great desire to seek it out. They were stacked in the study: lined exercise books in which she had started to write during the 60s and which covered nearly 30 years of her life. Right now, Granada Television is making a film based on another work of mine, my second novel, The Magic Toyshop. 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. She was not altogether well, and she did not take things easy. One of the texts on one of her pieces says, “Your moments of joy are constructed with the precision of military strategy.” Well, I know that she doesn’t mean me. And there are a dozen or so cards, dashed off in greeting or explanation, sometimes with a full message, sometimes just a salute. I used to do a great deal of journalism to regulate the cash flow. AC I was furious about the ending. RC She seems incapable of finding sustenance or delight in the company of women. There’s the main character, the woman – Olga. It reminds me of something William Burroughs once said to the effect that to collaborate is to lie. These cards make a paper trail, a zigzag path through the 80s. We had met at the end of the 70s, when I was helping to set up the London Review of Books and was keen to get Angela to write for the paper. We were producing very, very much better writers in this country when people were leaving school between twelve and fourteen. I don’t know what kind of a person I would have been, I might have been a much better writer. It made me think that inside every thin woman there’s a fat woman trying to get out.”. This interview is taken from a session at Marxism Today’s Left Alive. It comes across as either whining self-indulgence or congratulatory, stolid self-reliance. I mean I’m not terribly interested in these particular characters. They were partly working notes and partly casual jottings, roughly arranged so that the two kinds of entry were on opposite pages. 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. But it’s impossible to direct and I think it wouldn’t be a good thing if you could do it. I could hardly believe Godard would do such a thing. I was looking at it again last week. AC: Just by working and by thinking quite hard about what I do. 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. This area is uncrowded, with many trees and not much else for miles. We had Tuscan bean soup. AC No, never. Oliver. Apologies for the poor quality of the video. That was ages ago, over ten years ago, when I wrote that. Gothic imagery permeates all of her work but nowhere more so than in The Bloody Chamber (1979), a collection of tales that delights in moonlit forests, graveyards, isolated castles, locked rooms, guttering candles and the howling of wolves in the night. “It’s all right. AC: Well, I have had some following in science fiction. In their celerity, postcards are the email of the 20th century, but they are also more than that. There are lots of them in Nights at the Circus, which was intended as a comic novel. One of the stories that I don’t deal with in The Bloody Chamber is about children who are left out in a wood because their parents would rather they starve out of their sight than under their eyes. But that proved impossible to film. And then it turns out it’s no good. But – why has Marianne gone blonde?! Eighteen months before her death from lung cancer at the age of 51, Angela Carter talked to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour. They come out of pure theory, and that’s what that is about. She decorated their covers as girls used to decorate their school books, with cut-out labels (the Player’s cigarette sailor was one), paintings of cherubs and flowers and patterns of leaves. She liked the idea that journalism ran through her veins and was a terrific deadline surfer: “the only time I ever iron the sheets or make meringues is when there is an absolutely urgent deadline in the offing”. It was a homage to Angela’s love of the flicks; the hoofing heroines of her last novel would have felt at home there; it was splendid but battered, and had nothing super or American about it; it was in south London, where she had made her home. RC What is the myth of sexual difference? The film The Company of Wolves is based on one of her short stories, and she also co-wrote the screenplay. America comes across as a place where things happen to people and people are not in control, or aware, of their own lives. As an accompaniment to the talk, the actress Hattie Morahan, fresh from her success in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Young Vic, will read one of Angela Carter’s most subversive short stories, The Tiger’s Bride, inspired by Beauty and the Beast. That kind of laconic work is actually more difficult. Is that accurate? It captured her bemusement and her fashion sense, though not the beauty of the young, primly costumed Angela. Angela Carter has been described as ‘the most consistently interesting and original writer of British fiction today’. 14.3). “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. My mother left London carrying me in her arms with my 12-year-old brother. I’m afraid that’s life. I wrote my first novel in the evenings and at weekends. She was, as she put it, “both concentrated and random”. I was forced after 43 years of evasion, to come to terms with my own incompetence. 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 No, I refuse to. By Anna Katsavos It’s very, very difficult to describe this bias in language to men. I mailed that to a radio place, and they censored it. There was to be no holding back on grounds of good taste; she had no objections to her prose being turned into an extravaganza on ice: on the contrary. 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. Everybody is loony, here.”, At the beginning of the year she had reviewed an assortment of volumes about food – The Official Foodie Handbook, Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine and the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook – for the London Review of Books. Angela Carter interviewed by Rosemary Carroll ( by Rosemary Carroll from Bomb — Artists in Conversation) Angela Carter is a British novelist and short story writer Read More. I have a small collection of Angela material. 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”. She said you mean we’re nasty, hairy, dirty slavering beasts. Mixed in with my numbness was a peculiar sense of gratitude that there was something new she could say to me still. If you are writing propaganda you are using the conscious part of your mind to work out what you want to say. I’ve noticed a very definite shift in my works, a most definite shift. As she poured, she cursed her illness but took satisfaction from the fact that just before her diagnosis she’d taken out a whopping insurance policy; she “thought it very funny”, Rushdie said, “that the insurance company were screwed”. It is very low and quiet. 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. But we both feel the impact and the joy and the strain. There used to be a thriller writer called Peter Cheyney and all the characters in his thrillers were chain-smokers. Not surprisingly, she won, hands down. Do you have any desire to do more writing for film? By the time I knew her, Angela’s face was free of make-up and her hair stripped of dye. I have been reading a collection of Chinese short stories written in China in the 1920s. I was out of the country—in Australia when he shot the ending and he told me that it varied somewhat from the script. I was born in 1940. There was a small wooden desk by the window looking down to the street, The Chase: “SW4 0NR. Woody Guthrie’s “Riding in My Car” she chose because she liked being driven and because it reminded her of being in the car with Alexander, who was learning it on his guitar. Michael Berkeley, composer, broadcaster and friend, was the compere. What sort of games do you most enjoy playing with your reader? I suppose I do what I tell writing students: I occasionally get a young man sidling up to me and saying that he was very nervous about writing even the character of a woman, about making female characters, these days, because he thinks that we’re all going to stand around hitting him with our handbags. The students on it are very highly selected, are extremely highly motivated. We know a little bit less about the person that she makes contact with. The stories in The Bloody Chamber are very firmly grounded in the Indo-European popular tradition, even in the way they look. The idea of the soul is a very attractive proposition but nobody has ever been able to prove it to me. There’s this long history in Europe of taking elements from the oral tradition and making them into very elaborate literary conventions, but all the elements in that particular piece, The Bloody Chamber, are very lush. Therefore people are genuinely shocked when they look at Grimms’ stories, which the Grimm brothers collected from the German peasants, to see them full of the most ghastly events. I think maybe you’re referring to the short story, The Cabinet of Edgar Allan Poe, the bit about the “laser light of the republic.”. The otherworldly figure conjured after her death in 1992 doesn’t do Angela Carter justice. The following interview took place over the phone, late one night in September, between New York and Iowa, where Ms. Carter is teaching at the Iowa Writers Program. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates. For some 20 years she levelled out at about 63 kilos but, after Alexander, she steadily put on weight. But this resemblance to dreams is deliberate, conscious as it were. They can’t be all that, unless you can try very hard and make them move out of character a lot. AC Yah, boo, sucks. AC After she encounters the wolf at her grandmother’s house and what has happened becomes apparent she wakes up. A friend of mine has just done a collection of literary fairy tales from seventeenth-and eighteenth-century France, things like the original “Beauty and the Beast,” which is in fact from the oral tradition. He specializes in heavies—gangsters, Nazis and so on. AC Yes, it’s quite a surprise. Brief highlights from an interview of Angela Carter by Lisa Appignanesi. I suppose it comes back to the idea of mythology and why I talk so much against religion. RC In the Sadeian Woman you stated that in Sade’s work women do not exist as a class and are subsumed into the general class of the weak, the tyrannized, and the exploited. ?” It is the reference to Marianne Wiggins that dates the card. 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 use free association and dream imagery when I write. You know she is going to be a femme fatale long before you even see her face. I am getting used to having these great numbers of people in the car that are all his friends, his made-up friends. AC: I was much younger when I wrote that. We went from New York to San Francisco, by way of New Orleans because we were both fond of the jazz music from there. She also co-wrote the screenplay with Neil Jordan for The Company of Wolves based on her short story of the same title. But I just stopped using these configurations because they just stopped being useful to me. I was doing a piece of writing, an appreciation of this artist, Barbara Kruger, who does photo montage with text. RC I think that is true. I think it’s one of the scars in Western Europe. I’m quite pleased with it actually. You only have so much time before it’s necessary to go and pick a small person up. David started out as a sculptor, oddly enough. I would hotly deny that the movie was a piece of escapism. Are you conscious of directing the reader to think in a certain way when you write? “The Bloody Chamber” story itself is set quite firmly in the Mont Saint Michel, which is this castle on an island off the coast of Brittany; and a lot of the most exotic landscapes in it, the Italian landscapes, were quite legit. And not just Godard. This, of course, was an everyday fact of most people’s lives in Europe until the industrial revolution. Yes, I suppose I do. In the midst of her treatment she concocted a riposte to the Booker, which expressed her comic contempt for much of the fiction flying around the place. For my latest interview, I recently sat down with Rosie Hordon-Clark, a PhD student at Dublin City University whose research focuses on the relationship between Angela Carter's writing and feminism. Carmen, wearing her koala bear jumper (“for Angie”), spoke, as she had at the funeral. The Thatcherite censorship certainly found it subtly offensive. Brief highlights from an interview of Angela Carter by Lisa Appignanesi. We tend not to put that in nowadays. In The Bloody Chamber you are dealing with fairy tales. We are good friends and I enjoyed doing it. Among her most, ( by Rosemary Carroll from Bomb — Artists in Conversation) Angela Carter is a British novelist and short story writer, By Anna Katsavos (From “The Review of Contemporary Fiction,” Fall 1994, Vol. She can be any authoritarian figure. The postcards she sent to her friend Susannah Clapp evoke her anarchic intelligence, her fierce politics, the richness of her language, her ribaldry and swoops of the imagination. They find out much more about what their real existential status is from pornography, and it’s very unpleasant. Is it possible? In the middle of it, a poster of Wise Children which had been stuck up at one side of the stage came loose and fluttered down. But Alexander, my son, is a wonderful little person. “I wonder why people are always so surprised when I’m interested in clothes,” she said, not wondering at all. Among her most recent books are The Passion of New Eve and The Bloody Chamber.The film The Company of Wolves is based on one of her short stories, and she also co-wrote the screenplay. The picture itself carries a memory of an earlier time: of Angela’s first big excursion and her escape from England. AC I do, too. One of the things that people always say about women writers is that the male characters lack credibility. I’ve got to learn to live with that. An exciting new event celebrating Angela Carter’s Bristol connections will be taking place on Saturday 14th November. He is cast as the uncle. My friend thought for a while and said, “Well, what’s a heterosexual marriage a parody of then?” It’s the same sort of question put here. 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. In 1969 my husband, my first husband, and I drove across the United States in a Greyhound bus. News, Reviews, Interviews - everything Angela Carter. “But I wasn’t worried any more. “I’m one of the judges,” Angela explained, leaning away from her interrogator with a grimly polite chuckle. I realised that I’m actually an extremely incompetent person and I idle a lot. Some of the landscapes are reinvented ones. She asked for Sviatoslav Richter playing Schubert’s B flat Piano Sonata, which she described as her favourite piece of music; in one of our last meetings she had said she now preferred Schubert to Beethoven – “more heart”. He has a real feel for the book. I knew she had drawn but I had not realised how much. She is wonderful, extraordinary. I think that must be true for most writers. The scene in which Melanie is trapped while climbing the tree in her mother’s wedding gown is perfect—it completely captures that feeling of uncertain anticipation. By Anna Katsavos (From “The Review of Contemporary Fiction,” Fall 1994, Vol. This interview is taken from a session at Marxism Today’s Left Alive. AC No, not really. 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. The only woman writer in the collection died in childbirth at the age of 34. He sat on a podium with a cassette machine in front of a folding screen, which Corinna had painted with tropical verdure. Do you feel that your prose is affected by cinema? “I decided I’d be thin and it all got completely out of hand.” It happened very quickly. AC You mean my favorite movie ever, of all time. But the countess – she’s the law, she’s a certain kind of authority. It’s a very elaborate story. Among her most recent books are The Passion of New Eve and The Bloody Chamber. The atmosphere was so permeated with the Republican virtues. They are casually dispatched – some messages are barely more than a signature – but are often the more telling for that: they catch Angela on the wing, shooting her mouth off. This mythology lends itself, for example, to the idea that there is some mysterious connection between women and madness when in fact women are no more specifically connected with madness than are men. None of the other great faiths in the world have got quite that division between us and them. It was a year ago. RC You and he collaborated on the script, didn’t you? I mean most people would prefer to be artists than to work for Ford in Dagenham after all. Especially Montreal. That’s all. I have a minor but quite passionate interest in natural history, I’m a Darwinian. It combines postmodern self-awareness with the other-worldly glamour and unashamed intensity of classic horror and fantasy fiction. Women much older than you are still redefining themselves everyday of their lives, as women and as people? She went up to Angela and apparently mistook her for one of the many hangers-on at the feast, inquiring what she thought of the judges’ decision. RC The only woman I can think of, off hand, who is different in this respect is Jane Bowles. He became more and more obsessed with the look and shape of things and began to feel that prose was an inadequate method of conveying these concerns. Women have not had a voice until so recently and even now this issue is not one with which the women’s movement seems concerned. And I have done some other work on scripts. I keep remembering J G Ballard, who is a single parent, saying how terrific it was that he’s a writer because it meant that he could look after the children as well as earning a living. It is something that I look for in women writers and almost never find. I’m a great admirer of folklore. And the Nicaraguans might feel with justice it was a particularly foul CIA plot. How do we know what is authentic behavior and what is inauthentic behavior? But the story is an absolute libel on wolves. In a sustained piece of invective, and a dextrous analysis of manners, she tore into “piggery triumphant… [the] unashamed cult of conspicuous gluttony in the advanced industrialised countries, at just the time when Ethiopia is struck by a widely publicised famine”. 14.3) Crammed in with all the other gear, Interview for Marxism Today’s “Left Alive”, Angela Carter interviewed by Rosemary Carroll, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman. I know what you mean. None of the others has made this enormous division between birds and beasts who, as Darwin said, would have developed consciences if they’d had the chance, and us. ‘It’s all right’, I said. There’s a Barrie play called The Twelve-Pound Look, about a woman who spends twelve pounds on a typewriter, and she gets that twelve-pound look in her eyes because she can now have everything…. 14.3. He has a fantastic knack for portraying motiveless malignity, he will be just right. W hen Angela Carter died – aged just 51, on 16 February 1992 – her reputation changed from cultish to canonical. We went south to El Paso and then through the desert to California. Back at home, with Mark at the front door warding off people who took it into their heads to drop in, she entertained. AC Well, they were both written while I was living in Providence, Rhode Island and the area fascinated me. The reader is more or less kept uncertain until quite a long way through. AC: It’s more difficult. 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. It would come out very odd, it would come out most peculiar. Ms. Carter’s most recent collection of short fiction, Saints and Strangers was published in September by Viking Penguin. I am hopeful about the movie. Her mother indicated that if her daughter got a place at Oxford, she and her husband would be likely to get a flat or house nearby: “I think that’s when I gave up working for my A levels,” Angela explained. It’s something that’s easy to fall into. AC Oh no, we got along very well. RC From reading your books, I had the sense that you have an impression of America as a land that is ultimately somewhat disorienting—a place where the light and the heat are so intense that they are almost crippling or mutating. Angela Carter has been described as ‘the most consistently interesting and original writer of British fiction today’. In 1984, she told an interviewer: RC Has being a mother changed your perspectives? North. Everything she says in that direction is undercut by her mother, but the stuff that she says in the beginning about being hatched from an egg, that’s what she says. Would you say she’s out to create her own myth? Carter comically deconstructs Dr. Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." ... Carter said in an interview, "The short story is not minimalist, it is rococo. She’s very literally the winged victory, but very, very literally so. Fairy tales are part of the oral tradition of Europe. RC But the end of the film Company of Wolves is so different from the story. Her pregnancy was not calm. But she would not be comforted. I feel that if we all put our queer shoulders to the wheel together, it may be possible to move it an inch, a quarter of an inch, a centimetre, shake it. There is so much open space. It was at this house, 107, The Chase, that Carter spent the last sixteen years of her life. AK: What about Fevvers in Nights at the Circus? 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. In fluorescent yellow, neo-Renaissance Palatine italics and an exclamation mark, it proclaims: “So I haven’t written much lately! Texas chili, it goes through you like a dose of salts. The stories are dreamlike in structure and share other qualities with dreams—symbolic transformations, ritualistic, referent use of name and language, and the fulfillment of unexpressed, or even denied, desire. Not so much carnival as cranial. I felt so much better when I was fatter. She would have hated the idea of a soundbite, but she had a gift for a capsule phrase, for a story in a word. Do you think there is anything escapist in your more recent work, especially say The Company of Wolves? Last night, for example, I dreamed that I woke up and went to the bathroom. And that is a somewhat problematic role model for women in the 20th century. But in fact really neither me nor my son’s father have done very much work for the last year. She was terribly upset. Her name flew high, like the trapeze-artist heroine of Nights at the Circus: Fevvers, the “Cockney Venus”. AC: No, it doesn’t work. RC To take a somewhat less obviously despicable example, then—Doris Lessing. In the late 1980s Angela sent a droll picture from somewhere near the Erie Canal. It took me about three years to work out why this was. The point seemed to be the here and now, what we should do now. She wrote of the “silver gilt light on Brandon Hill” in 1969, jotted down a recipe for soup using the balls of a cock and, in her later pages, took notes on Ellen Terry’s lectures on Shakespeare. Let me put it like this. AC Since I’ve become a mother, I don’t go to the movies much. I try to think that the falsity of the ending won’t even be noticed—everybody in the audience will be looking for their shoes and it will go right by. She may have been wincing about the late delivery of a piece of copy. When I wrote that novel in 1968, this was a very resonant theme that I am not so sure of now. It was to become even more unsettling. Angela Carter is a British novelist and short story writer whose works include: The Bloody Chamber , Nights at the Circus and The Magic Toyshop . And just after she’d taken her exams (only two of them), she gave up eating. It was Mark who came up with the idea of the Ritzy. I’m interested in the division that Judo- Christianity has made between human nature and animal nature. … 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. This area is uncrowded, with many trees and … He’s talking about a woman in the early twentieth century, in a very French and rhetorical manner. Angela’s blue-biro message says: “Budapest is bliss, bliss, bliss. The surrounding trees rearranged themselves. Only stipulation was that michael Winner should not get his hands on angela carter interview other-worldly. Nice or nasty tricky because people are different and people have different responses to fiction for.... 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