Angela Carter

Was it history, destiny, or both that conspired against Angela Carter to render her less widely known and celebrated than she deserves to be? Born in England during the war, of a class presuming nothing, entitled to nothing, and growing to adulthood during the past-war years in that same England, it seems that all the cards were stacked against her. With the Welsh and with the French, it appears she had more in common.

Her intelligence, deprived of any silver spoon, of any conceivable advantage born even of the bourgeoisie, she sought the reliably unconventional, the unimaginably unpredictable. Her sense of fashion, in her writing as in her dress and demeanour, was also the realisation of an interweaving of artfulness and artifice all her own. To penetrate such widespread malaise, ennui, complacence, discontent, indifference, it is imperative to shock.  Fashion being most striking where least expected. She appeared as she was. She was as she appeared.

Only after having read all of Angela Carter did I venture into her biography. There were surprises, of course, but nothing astounding. More than anything else, through all that was revealed, my profound admiration for her, and of her writing, was but compounded manyfold. I came to Angela Carter from times, places, and conditions not wholly dissimilar to hers. For decades, since my first encounter, I have felt her the elder sister I never had, possessing some blood that was mine, but that I had never known. Angela Carter remains poignant in my memory, because she reminds me of no one else. Though your writing raves and rages on, dear sister, may you rest in peace.