The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography
Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Spectator and ObserverAngela 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.
"Splendid...this is an exemplary piece of work...which will satisfy readers, and on which further investigation can rest with great confidence that nothing has been concealed and no pathway has been neglected. Everyone should read it." -- Philip Hensher * Spectator * "[A] gripping biography, brimming with new material... He has undertaken feats of scholarship and written an admirably clearsighted book... Gordon's achievement, however, is tremendous. From baroque entanglements of material and controversy, he brings living contours into view... A quarter century on, this new biography should renew our readerly appetites for Carter." -- Alexandra Harris * Financial Times * "This fascinating, highly readable biography will be extremely hard to beat." -- Christina Patterson * Sunday Times * "[It] glints with well-placed detail and witty apercus, and it pays proper attention to what matters most, Angela Carter's writing... Let's hope that this thoughtful and engaging biography will introduce a generation of new readers to her work." -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Literary Review * "[An] astute biography... Edmund Gordon has done an industrious and intelligent job." -- DJ Taylor * The Times *
Edmund Gordon writes for a wide variety of publications, including the Guardian, Observer, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, and Sunday Times. In 2012 he received a Jerwood Award for non-fiction from the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London, and teaches literature and creative writing at King's College London. This is his first book.