Angela Carter and Surrealism: 'A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic', 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Angela Carter and Surrealism

'A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic', 1st Edition

By Anna Watz


202 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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In 1972, Angela Carter translated Xavière Gauthier’s ground-breaking feminist critique of the surrealist movement, Surréalisme et sexualité (1971). Although the translation was never published, the project at once confirmed and consolidated Carter’s previous interest in surrealism, representation, gender and desire and aided her formulation of a new surrealist-feminist aesthetic. Carter’s sustained engagement with surrealist aesthetics and politics as well as surrealist scholarship aptly demonstrates what is at stake for feminism at the intersection of avant-garde aesthetics and the representation of women and female desire. Drawing on previously unexplored archival material, such as typescripts, journals, and letters, Anna Watz’s study is the first to trace the full extent to which Carter’s writing was influenced by the surrealist movement and its critical heritage. Watz’s book is an important contribution to scholarship on Angela Carter as well as to contemporary feminist debates on surrealism, and will appeal to scholars across the fields of contemporary British fiction, feminism, and literary and visual surrealism.


"Angela Carter and Surrealism offers a tonic to cultural, scholarly and political malaise. Having read and digested this book in detail, I am left feeling that feminism has been vindicated and revived." --Catriona McAra, Leeds College of Art

"Anna Watz provides a compelling and original account of Angela Carter’s complex relationship to surrealism. Uncovering new archival material on Carter’s engagement with Xavière Gauthier’s pathbreaking feminist study of surrealism, and through close readings of the fiction and nonfiction, Warz examines Carter’s development of a libertarian aesthetic and its important debt to the politics and aesthetics of surrealism. Her book intelligently builds on the field of Carter criticism whilst offering new insights into the debates and critical legacies ignited by the surrealist movement." --Natalya Lusty, The University of Sydney

"This is a major study of Angela Carter’s writing and thought, which offers an illuminating cross-section of feminism and avant-garde writing in France and the United Kingdom. Angela Carter and Surrealism works across the lines of contact and contention between the surrealist and Tel Quel movements, between Beauvoir-era feminism and poststructuralist feminism. This is an important study of the second wave of avant-garde activity of the 1960s and 1970s that will be required reading for students and scholars of surrealism, feminism, and British fiction." --Jonathan P. Eburne, The Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. ‘The Problem of Woman’: Surrealist Femininities and Masculinities 3. The Surrealist Uncanny in Shadow Dance 4. Surrealist Desire in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman 5. The Sadeian Woman and Surréalisme et sexualité 6. The Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic of The Passion of New Eve 7. Conclusion: Feminist-Surrealist Bricolage and Performativity

About the Author

Anna Watz is Senior Lecturer in English, Linköping University, Sweden.

About the Series

Studies in Surrealism

Studies in Surrealism
With scholarly interest in Surrealism greater than ever, the Studies in Surrealism series serves as a forum for key areas of Surrealist inquiry today. This series extends the ongoing academic and popular interest in Surrealism, evident in recent studies that have rethought established areas of Surrealist activity and engagement, including those of politics, the object, photography, crime, and modern physics. Expanding and adding various lines of inquiry, books in the series examine Surrealism's intersections with philosophical, social, artistic, and literary themes. Potential subjects to be examined in the context of Surrealism include but are not limited to: nature; queer studies; humor and play; science; theory in the 1950s and 1960s; the New Novel; Surrealist activities beyond Paris. Proposals are welcomed for both monographs and essay collections dealing with the above subjects or with discussions of Surrealism in other aspects and genres. Monographic writings on artists and writers who have been generally overlooked by English-language scholarship (for instance, Victor Brauner, Toyen, Jorge Camacho) would also fall within the scope of this series.

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