A highly original and influential work of modern British literature, Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus combines a fantastically creative plot with a strong political undertone. The result is an emotive and provocative novel, which has attracted much critical attention from a range of perspectives including poststructuralism, gender studies, postmodernism and psychoanalysis.
This guide to Angela Carter’s complex novel, presents:
- an accessible introduction to the text and contexts of Nights at the Circus
a critical history, surveying the many interpretations of the text from publication to the present
- a selection of new critical essays on the Nights at the Circus, by Heather Johnson, Jeannette Baxter, Sarah Sceats and Helen Stoddart, providing a variety of perspectives on the novel and extending the coverage of key critical approaches identified in the survey section
- cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
- suggestions for further reading.
Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Nights at the Circus and seeking not only a guide to the novel, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Carter’s text.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part 1: Nights at the Circus: Text and Contexts Angela Carter: Biography and Writing. Forms of Writing. Academic Contexts. Internationalism. Recognition. Britain: 1890s, 1960s and 1980s. Literary Contexts and Beyond. Walter Benjamin and the ‘Angel of History’. Michel Foucault and the Panopticon. Laura Mulvey, Women and ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Carnivalesque and the Grotesque. Postmodernism: Intertextuality, Bricolage, and Metafiction. Magical Realism. Masquerade and the Performative Part 2: Critical History Reviews. Gender, Feminism and the Carnivalesque. History and Politics. Postmodernism. Genre: Picaresque and Gothic Part 3: Critical Readings Metafiction, Magical Realism, and Myth. Postmodernism. Gender, Performance, and Identity. Popular Culture, Carnival and Clowns. Further Reading.
Helen Stoddart is a lecturer at Keele University. She is interested in research on the circus; its history, cultural influences and implications and, most particularly, its representation in other forms such as literature and cinema.