Angela Carter is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and beguiling writers of the last century. Her work stands out for its bawdiness and linguistic zest, its hospitality to the fantastic and the absurd, and its extraordinary inventiveness and range. Her life was as modern and as unconventional as anything in her fiction.
Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne in 1940, her story spans the latter half of the twentieth century. After escaping an oppressive childhood and a difficult early marriage, the success of her first novels enable the freedoms of travel – journeying across America in a Greyhound bus, and then on to Tokyo, where she lived for three transformative years – before settling in London to write her last, great novels, amid the joys of late motherhood and prestigious teaching posts abroad. By the time of her tragic and untimely death at the age of fifty-one, she was firmly established as an iconoclastic writer whose fearlessly original work had reinvigorated the literary landscape and inspired a new generation.
This is the story of how Angela Carter invented herself – as a new kind of woman and a new kind of writer – and how she came to write such seductive works as The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus and Wise Children. Edmund Gordon has followed in Carter’s footsteps to uncover a life rich in incident and adventure. With unrestricted access to her manuscripts, letters and journals, and informed by dozens of interviews with her friends and family, this major biography offers a definitive portrait of one of our most dazzling writers.