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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.