After publishing the renowned Bloody Chamber and Other Stories in 1979, Angela Carter’s name and work became fundamentally associated with fairy tales. It is now difficult to think about the genre without considering the influence of Carter’s subversive stories, in particular for the way she drew out the tales’ latent sexual and violent content.
This selection of undated writing was kept by Carter in a larger collection she titled 'Miscellaneous fairy tale material'. Containing detailed research notes and Carter’s own analysis, it shows the novelist’s long and evolving interest in the fairy tale tradition.
The collection includes notes on tales such as 'Bluebeard' and the tradition of oral storytelling, prepared for one of Carter’s several temporary teaching posts at universities including Sheffield, East Anglia and Brown in the US.
A small extract is shown here from Carter’s extensive ‘Notes for Perrault translation’, presumably prepared for a work of 10 translated fairy tales published in 1977. Charles Perrault is regarded as the father of the fairy tale due to his work collecting these folk tales and printing them for the first time, under the title Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé avec des Moralités (1697).
The final piece, beginning ‘It is important to make a distinction between the folk tale and the fairy tale,’ is a longer essay or lecture in which Carter recounts the history of the genre and fleshes out her theories.
- Full title:
- Angela Carter Papers: Miscellaneous fairy tale material
- 1984, 1992, n.d.
- Manuscript / Notebook
- Angela Carter
- Usage terms
© Displayed with the permission of the Estate of Angela Carter c/o Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN. Angela Carter’s work is published in the UK by Vintage, Virago, Penguin Classics. You may not reuse the material for commercial purposes.
- Held by
- British Library
- Add MS 88899/1/82
- Article by:
- Marina Warner
- Fantasy and fairy tale, Literature 1950–2000, Exploring identity
Marina Warner explores cross-dressing and the performance of identity in Angela Carter's fairy tale-inspired works.
- Article by:
- Greg Buzwell
- Fantasy and fairy tale, Literature 1950–2000
The Bloody Chamber is a collection of modern fairy tales, many of which incorporate elements of Gothic literature. Greg Buzwell traces the Gothic influence on Carter's stories, from the Marquis de Sade to Edgar Allan Poe.
- Article by:
- Chris Power
- Gender and sexuality, Fantasy and fairy tale, Literature 1950–2000
Chris Power examines how Angela Carter’s collection of reworked fairy tales is a unique, disruptive work that places gender politics centre-stage and refuses to be easily categorised.