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Angela Carter and European Gothic
Author: Rebecca Munford

This book develops insights into the vexed question of Carter's textual practices through the dusty lens of the Gothic. It argues that European Gothic is vital to illuminating and understanding the tension between politics and aesthetics in Carter's work. The book shows how a more concerted focus on Carter's European literary inheritance sheds light on her particular and perverse engagements with androcentric literary and cultural frameworks. It emblematises the tension between her textual extravagancies and her self-declared 'absolute and committed materialism'. Her firm belief 'that this world is all that there is, and in order to question the nature of reality one must move from a strongly grounded base in what constitutes material reality'. The book examines the fraught relationship between Carter's sexual and textual politics. Exploring the ways in which Carter's work speaks to broader discussions about the Gothic and its representations, the book is especially concerned with analysing her textual engagements with a male-authored strand of European Gothic. This is a dirty lineage that can be mapped from the Marquis de Sade's obsession with desecration and defilement to surrealism's violent dreams of abjection. The book not only situates Carter as part of a European Gothic tradition but theoretically aligns her with what Jane Gallop, in her book on Sade, describes as France's "deconstructive" feminism, daughter of antihumanism.

Abstract only
Angela Carter and European Gothic
Rebecca Munford

eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries ‘sees women writers at their most pushy and argumentative’ ( 2000 : 3). Nevertheless, Carter’s fascination with the sexual and textual violence of male-authored scripts of femininity means that her fiction rests uneasily with prevailing accounts of the ‘female Gothic’. Coined by Ellen Moers in two articles she wrote for the New York Review of Books in 1974

in Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers
Rebecca Munford

what Ellen Moers identifies as the female Gothic mode of ‘travelling heroism’ – a mode concerned with the journey of ‘the woman who moves, who acts, who copes with vicissitude and adventure’ ( 1978 : 126). 18 Still, while critical attention has tended to centre on Fevvers and the flight of the decadent daughter from the restrictive enclosures of male-authored scripts of

in Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers