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Rewriting the Body

Desire, Gender and Power in Selected Novels by Angela Carter


Julia Simon

The body has become a highly contested, political site in (post)modern literature and literary theory. In Angela Carter’s work the image of the body is constructed around the tension between a post-structuralist notion of gender fluidity and a feminist reclaiming of the female body as a source of pleasure and power. This study examines the body politics in the last four novels Carter wrote between the seventies and the nineties: The Infernal Desire Machines, The Passion of New Eve, Nights at the Circus and Wise Children. Drawing on feminist and poststructuralist theory, it traces a development in Carter’s fiction that moves from the pessimistic negation of a self-determined female corporeality to the assertion of the female body as a powerful site of alterity.
Contents: The Body in Selected Novels by Angela Carter: Theorising the Body – Cannibalism, Desire and Power in The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman – Confinement and Metamorphosis: the Body in The Passion of New Eve – Alterity, Femininity and the Monstrous Body in Nights at the Circus – Age, Death and Maternity in Wise Children.