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Sewing furiously

Rosalind Mitchison

7 March 1985
The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine 
by Rozsika Parker.
Women’s Press, 256 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 7043 2842 9
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Living the Fishing 
by Paul Thompson, Tony Wailey and Trevor Lummis.
Routledge, 398 pp., £13.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9508 2
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By the Sweat of their Brow: Women Workers at Victorian Coal Mines 
by Angela John.
Routledge, 247 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 7102 0142 7
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... of goods. Perhaps one of the most conspicuous pieces of handwork, the embroidered arms of the alliance which won the battle of Lepanto – still to be seen on the great pale blue banner for Don John of Austria’s flagship, now in Toledo – could be regarded as a practical way of encouraging solidarity, and perhaps it took no longer to complete than it took for the alliance to prepare its navy ...
5 December 1985
Black Venus 
by Angela​ Carter.
Chatto, 121 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 3964 1
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Come unto these yellow sands 
by Angela​ Carter.
Bloodaxe, 158 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 906427 66 5
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Mainland 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 285 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 241 11643 0
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The Accidental Tourist 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 355 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2986 7
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Arrows of Longing 
by Virginia Moriconi.
Duckworth, 252 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780715620694
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... Angela Carter’s Black Venus is Baudelaire’s Creole mistress Jeanne Duval, whose hair the poet once likened to a sea of ebony, among other things; his enchantment and her disenchantment figure in the ...
2 August 1984
Inside Outsider: The Life and Times of Colin MacInnes 
by Tony Gould.
Chatto, 261 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 7011 2678 7
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... Burne-Jones, and was thus connected with both the Kipling and the Baldwin families; he was the grandson of an Oxford Professor of Poetry (of no great distinction, it must be admitted); and the son of Angela Thirkell, the novelist of upper-class English life, and James Campbell McInnes, a man of working-class origins who became the foremost British lieder-singer of his generation. Unfortunately for this ...
22 July 1993
The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales 
edited by Alison Luire.
Oxford, 455 pp., £17.95, May 1993, 0 19 214218 6
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The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales 
edited by Angela​ Carter.
Virago, 230 pp., £7.99, July 1993, 1 85381 616 7
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... poetical fairy tale, even a wry modern one like Thurber’s ‘The Unicorn in the Garden’, is apt to be soft and sticky. The best are startling and mysterious but also commonplace. Before she died Angela Carter made a few notes for what was to be the introduction to her second collection of traditional tales. ‘The unperplexedness of the story. Fairy tales – cunning and high spirits.’ That comes ...

Bewitchment

James Wood

8 December 1994
Shadow Dance 
by Angela​ Carter.
Virago, 182 pp., £9.99, September 1994, 1 85381 840 2
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Flesh and the Mirror: Essays on the Art of Angela​ Carter 
edited by Lorna Sage.
Virago, 358 pp., £8.99, September 1994, 1 85381 760 0
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... Angela Carter’s first novel, Shadow Dance, is a bold, leathery, coarse book. It summarises thinly its author’s later adventures and preoccupations, as the chapter headings in a picaresque novel do its ...
13 June 1991
Wise Children 
by Angela​ Carter.
Chatto, 234 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 7011 3354 6
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... in the London Review, in recent months, as if these alone could determine the future place of Shakespeare in the educational and cultural life of the nation. What a relief then, to come upon Angela Carter’s new novel, an uproarious Bottom’s-eye view of Bardolatry and Bardbiz, full of cardboard crowns, asses’ heads, and actors strutting, fretting, singing and dancing! Wise Children will ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman

21 August 1980
Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela​ Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... In 1936 T. S. Eliot warmly sponsored Nightwood, and one has heard since that her vision of Hell can be traced as an influence in Nathanael West and Malcolm Lowry, and her sort of Gothic fantasy in John Hawkes. In spite of this, when her books reappear it doesn’t seem to be so much in response to a public demand as because the time has come once again for a reappraisal. Has she a place of her own ...

In Praise of Student-Teacher Attraction

Cristina Nehring: Francine Prose

29 November 2001
Blue Angel 
by Francine Prose.
Allison and Busby, 314 pp., £12.99, June 2001, 0 7490 0580 7
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... close to a student, he believes he is deeply in love – and in love, moreover, with her literary recommendations rather than with her secondary sexual characteristics, which initially revolt him. Angela Argo is a heavily pierced, neon-haired punk Paddington Bear who stumbles down the corridor and crashes remarkably often into Swenson’s office door. More important than her physical ‘irregularity ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela​ Carter

3 November 2016
The Invention of Angela​ Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... In​ 2006, the British Library bought a huge archive of Angela Carter’s papers from Gekoski, the rare books dealer, for £125,000.* It includes drafts, lots of them, a reminder that in the days before your computer automatically date-stamped all your files ...
6 July 1989
Laughter and the Love of Friends: A Memoir 1945 to the Present Day 
by Ursula Wyndham.
Lennard, 208 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 1 85291 061 5
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1939: The Last Season of Peace 
by Angela​ Lambert.
Weidenfeld, 235 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 297 79539 2
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Rosehill: Portraits from a Midland City 
by Carol Lake.
Bloomsbury, 179 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 9780747503019
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... after they have made love his face wears an expression of ‘noble ecstacy’. Ursula Wyndham sometimes meanders, but she is not mealy-mouthed: she tells her own idiosyncratic story. As recorded by Angela Lambert, the slightly younger debutantes of the 1939 Season were less adventurous and more euphemistic: they recall a few gropes ‘round the bosom area’, a rumour that one girl had ‘crossed the ...

It’s she, it’s she, it’s she

Joanna Biggs: Americans in Paris

2 August 2012
Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela​ Davis 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 289 pp., £17, May 2012, 978 0 226 42438 5
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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-80 
by Susan Sontag.
Hamish Hamilton, 544 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 0 241 14517 3
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... If being a young woman in postwar America was suffocating, why not try Paris? Alice Kaplan’s Dreaming in French tells the story of three college girls – Jacqueline Bouvier, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis – who did. Kaplan, who wrote about her own year abroad in the memoir French Lessons, takes the three, who didn’t meet, as examples of mid-20th-century types: the (Catholic) aesthete, the ...

Hairy Fairies

Rosemary Hill: Angela​ Carter

10 May 2012
A Card from Angela​ Carter 
by Susannah Clapp.
Bloomsbury, 106 pp., £10, February 2012, 978 1 4088 2690 4
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... Angela Carter didn’t enjoy much of what she called ‘the pleasantest but most evanescent kind of fame, which is that during your own lifetime’. She was known and admired, but on nothing like the scale ...
9 April 1992
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales 
edited by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 533 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 19 214194 5
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... lifestyles. Mrs B herself escaped, and in a suitably Gothic manner, when her husband, the Reverend Rochemont Barbauld (a perfect name for the genre) went mad in 1808 and committed suicide. Angela Carter, who has identified de Sade’s victims as among the first feminists, because incipiently conscious stereotypes of woman solely for man’s use, melded the Gothic with fairy-tale to produce ...
22 November 1979
Saturday Night Reader 
edited by Emma Tennant.
W.H. Allen, 246 pp., £5.95
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... one can be indifferent.Am I missing an extra layer of irony here or there? The sense of being mocked by initiates is heightened by the slow-dawning certainty that the Marcus Gutteridge talked to by John Mortimer is a made-up person, a chimera of all those doddering reminiscers (‘Aldous was extremely short-sighted’) whom young literary journalists feel obliged to interview. Well, of course, now I ...
16 February 1989
Beauty in History: Society, Politics and Personal Appearance c. 1500 to the Present 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 480 pp., £18.95, September 1988, 0 500 25101 0
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... a man, on the one hand, for his use of sexist language and then to turn on him for lack of chivalry may seem quixotic; besides, Professor Marwick covers himself by invoking another Professor, Sir John Plumb, but these two gentlemen between them certainly have no respect for the feelings of the dead. ‘George III’s wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was so manifestly ugly that the King’s ...

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