Angela Olive Stalker was born in Eastbourne in 1940. She was evacuated to live with her maternal grandmother in Yorkshire shortly after, due to the bombing raids of the Second World War. Her father, Hugh Alexander Stalker, was a Scottish journalist working in London. Her maternal grandfather had been a soldier in India, and although he had died before Angela was born, the possessions that he had left her mother had an Imperial ring about them that obviously became deeply ingrained in Angela’s imagination. Angela was brought up in London, and attended the local grammar school after passing the Eleven Plus. She became anorexic around this time, which was later to have an influence on her writing. When she was 19, she started work as a journalist at “The Croydon Advertiser”. A year later, she married Paul Carter. In 1962, she read English at Bristol University, specialising in Medieval Literature, which again, would prove to be influential in her own writing.
Angela Carter settled in Bristol for much of the 60s, and this was where many of her early novels were set. Indeed, they are sometimes referred to as the “Bristol Trilogy”: “Shadow Dance” (1966) (“Honeybuzzard” in the US), “Several Perceptions” (1968), and “Love” (1971). Angela Carter also worked as a reviewer from 1966 onwards, for “New Society” and “The Guardian”. Her second novel, “The Magic Toyshop”, was published in 1967, and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, which gave Angela Carter more public recognition. This was followed by “Several Perceptions” in 1968, and “Heroes and Villains” in 1969. This was also the year that Angela Carter separated from her husband, after having won the Somerset Maugham prize, which she used to help fund a couple of years living in Japan. This stay in a foreign land helped produce many pieces for “New Society” that were later collected in a volume called “Nothing Sacred” (1982). From 1972, she lived in Bath, and now began to produce many of her most famous works: “The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman” (1972), “Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces” (1974), “The Passion of New Eve” (1977), and “The Bloody Chamber and other stories” (1979). London became her home again in 1976, and she married Mark Pearce. She also embarked on a successful career in teaching Creative Writing when she became an Arts Council Fellow at the University of Sheffield from 1976 to 1978. She later held posts at Rhode Island, the University of Adelaide, and also taught on the famous University of East Anglia Creative Writing MA. In 1979, she produced a work of cultural history called “The Sadeian Woman”.
1984 saw the release of “The Company of Wolves”, a film directed by Neil Jordan based on some of the stories from “The Bloody Chamber”, for which Angela Carter wrote the screenplay. The movie successfully brought Angela Carter’s blend of Gothic/Magic Realism and the reworking of fairy tales to a wider audience. Her next novel, “Nights at the Circus” was also released in 1984, and has recently become a spectacular stage play. “The Magic Toyshop” also became a television film in 1987. Her final novel, “Wise Children”, was released in 1991. By this time, Angela Carter was suffering from cancer, and bypassed treatment in order to complete the novel. Other anthologies of her fiction are “Black Venus” (1985), “American Ghosts and Old World Wonders” (1993), “Burning your Boats” 1995, and “The Curious Room” was a collection of her scripts for movies, films, and plays (1996). Her journalism has also been collected in the volumes “Expletives Deleted” (1992), and “Shaking a Leg” (1997). Angela Carter also wrote for children: “The Donkey Prince” (1970), “Miss Z, the Dark Young Lady” (1970), “Comic and Curious Cats” (1979), “The Music People” (1980), “Moonshadow” (1982), and “Sea-Cat and the Dragon King” was published posthumously in 2000. Angela Carter died in 1992.
Interview with Angela Carter – Anna Katsavos’ interview with her from 1988
The Werewolf – an Angela Carter short story
A very good wizard, a very dear friend – Salman Rushdie’s tribute to Angela Carter
Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop – Kevin Patrick Mahoney’s essay
Writing a history of difference: Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry and Angela Carter’s Wise Children – Jeffrey Roessner’s essay
The Modern English Visonary: Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor and Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve – Edward J. Ahearn’s essay
Perverse Pleasure and the Fetishized Text: the deathly erotics of Carter’s The Bloody Chamber – Becky McLaughlin’s essay
The Infernal Desire Machines of Angela Carter – Jeff VanderMeer’s comprehensive essay
Tall Tales and Brief Lives: Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus – Brian Finney’s essay
The Ravished Reader: Angela Carter’s Allegory in Nights at the Circus – Marita Kristiansen’s essay
Arachnological, intertextual weavings in Angela Carter’s Writing – Andrew Milne’s essay
Angela Carter on the ideology of Pornography: Rereading Marquis de Sade – Julia Samarina’s essay
Living in the Present: an analysis of tense switching in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber – Timothy Mason’s essay
Pornography, Ethics and Feminine Writing: a study of Angela Carter’s “Polemical Preface” – Frederic Regard’s essay
The Grotesque in the works of Frederico Fellini and Angela Carter – Maura O’Gara’s essay
Laurie J. C. "Narrative "Confidence Games": Framing the Blonde
Spectacle in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) and Nights at the Circus
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies - Volume 24, Number 3, 2003, pp. 47-62
University of Nebraska Press