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Episode 31: The Magic of Angela Carter

Imagination, influence and the invention of infernal desire machines . . . Edmund Gordon, biographer of Angela Carter, guides the Slightly Foxed team through her colourful works and explores the wider realms of magical realism. Witty and wilfully idiosyncratic, Carter conjured sex and death from fairy tales in The Bloody Chamber, used her Somerset Maugham Award money to leave her husband and go to Japan to write, and absorbed the Latin American influences of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez. We hear how she enlisted the Marquis de Sade as an ally of feminism, embraced pulp genres and opened doors for David Mitchell, China Miéville, Helen Oyeyemi and more, while always attending to the grammar of the folk story. And, to finish, there are the usual wide-ranging recommendations for reading off the beaten track.

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 42 minutes; 50 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Jess in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

The Invention of Angela Carter, Edmund Gordon (2:27)

Shadow Dance, Angela Carter (7:40)

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, Angela Carter (8:46)

Fireworks, Angela Carter (8:51)

The Magic Toyshop, Angela Carter (10:08)

The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter (10:27)

The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim (11:29)

Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (13:47)

Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (16:29)

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez (25:50)

Beloved, Toni Morrison (26:21)

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (27:24)

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, Barbara Comyns (27:37)

The Sadeian Woman, Angela Carter (29:50)

Shaking A Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings, Angela Carter (31:22)

Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories, Angela Carter (31:24)

A Card from Angela Carter, Susannah Clapp is currently out of print, with reprinting under consideration (36:12)

Extinction, Thomas Bernhard (37:06)

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (38:15)

Kiss Myself Goodbye: The Many Lives of Aunt Munca, Ferdinand Mount (40:20)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Keeping it Real, Maggie Fergusson interviews the novelist Ali Smith, Issue 54 (9:48)

Sophia Fairclough and Me, Sophie Breese on the novels of Barbara Comyns, Issue 42 (27:35)

Other Links

The Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize (2:30)

Keats House, Hampstead, London (33:50)

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

Comments & Reviews

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  1. George Woodman says:

    Thank you once again for a fascinating introduction to an area I know little about. Perhaps another precursor of magical realism is some of the writing of Robert Louis Stevenson (an influence on Borges) or other Victorian fantasists lie the humourist. F. Anstey.

  2. Margaret Taylor says:

    No, not my favourite genre but nevertheless really interesting insights into these authors. Thank you for bringing this information together!

  3. Elizabeth Light says:

    Thank you for your wonderful podcasts. They are my listening highlight of the month.

  4. Laura Davis, Listen Up podcast review column says:

    Where to start: Angela Carter’s brand of magical realism is a fascinating place to kick-off your listening in an episode that reveals her efforts to escape a controlling mother.

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