Angela Carter was born Angela Olive Stalker. She spent the war years in Yorkshire with her grandmother before attending school in Balham. She was a junior reporter on the Croydon Advertiser when she married Paul Carter in 1960. Angela Carter read English at the University of Bristol from 1962 through 1965 and published her first novel, Shadow Dance, a year after graduating. She won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for Several Perceptions and the Somerset Maugham Award for The Magic Toyshop, a deftly caustic allegory of female maturation and eventual empowerment.
Carter lived in Japan for more than two years before her divorce in 1972. Her writings of this period became increasingly phantasmagorical. Love is an intense study of the dark waywardness of passion. The futuristic fantasy Heroes and Villains depicts a post-Holocaust world whose ruined cities are inhabited by professors and soldiers, while forests metamorphosed by mutation are gradually reclaiming the earth. The protagonist of The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman undertakes a bizarre quest to rescue the world from a threatened annihilation of reason and reality. He moves across a phantasmagoric landscape whose symbolism reflects the most secret, shameful, and yet cherished impulses of the human heart. Such journeys from decadent order to a chaos that is pregnant with new possibilities in spite of its brutality became the basic pattern of almost all of Carter’s subsequent work.
After a brief hiatus, Carter’s career got under way again when she obtained an Arts Council Fellowship in Sheffield in 1976. She subsequently settled in London with Mark Pearce, the father of her son Alexander, who was born in 1983. During the 1980’s, she taught creative writing at a number of American universities and at the University of East Anglia. A symbolically...
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