Angela Carter

Literary Birthday – 7 May – Angela Carter

Angela Carter was born 7 May 1940, and died 16 February 1992.


  1. Reading and living are the real training for writing fiction. This may sound smug but it’s true.
  2. Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. And I think that all fiction should be open-ended. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world.
  3. We seem to be going through a period when the idea that the situation is hopeless has got a certain kind of dark glamour. The idea that one can do nothing seems to be attractive.
  4. Memory is the grid of meaning we impose on the random and bewildering flux of the world. Memory is the line we pay out behind us as we travel through time—it is the clue, like Ariadne’s, which means we do not lose our way. Memory is the lasso with which we capture the past and haul it from chaos towards us in nicely ordered sequences, like those of baroque keyboard music.
  5. Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.
  6. 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.
  7. I think it’s one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.
  8. Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.
  9. A book is simply the container of an idea-like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.

Angela Carter was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism. In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Source for Image

Fair use as instructional illustration

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th May 2014