Saturday, October 29, 2016


The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography by Edmund Gordon
Chatto, 544 pp, £25.00, October, ISBN 978 0 7011 8755 2

In 2006, the British Library bought a huge archive of Angela Carter’s papers from Gekoski, the rare books dealer, for £125,000. It includes drafts, lots of them, a reminder that in the days before your computer automatically date-stamped all your files book-writing used to be a clerical undertaking. It has Pluto Press Big Red Diaries from the 1970s, and a red leatherette Labour Party one, tooled with the pre-Kinnock torch, quill and shovel badge. There are bundles of postcards, including the ones sent over the years to Susannah Clapp, the friend and editor Carter would appoint as her literary executor, which formed the basis of the memoir Clapp published in 2012; there’s also one with an illegible postmark, addressed to Bonny Angie Carter and signed ‘the wee spurrit o’yae Scots grandmither’. And there are journals, big hardback notebooks ornamented with Victorian scraps and pictures cut from magazines, and filled with neat, wide-margined pages of the most nicely laid-out note-taking you have ever seen. February 1969, for example, starts with a quote from Wittgenstein, then definitions of fugue, counterpoint, catachresis and tautology. Summaries of books read: The Interpretation of DreamsTractatus Logico-PhilosophicusThe Self and Others. All incredibly tidy, with underlinings in red. And exploding flowers and nudie ladies stuck on the inside cover, as if in illustration of The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, which Carter would have been working on at the time.

- Jenny Turner in the LRB

Friday, October 21, 2016

books read in October 2016

Fiction is in red. Date of first publication in (parentheses).

62. William Inge: Essays and Reminiscences on the Plays and the Man, Jackson R. Bryer (2014)
63. Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s Week, Ursula K. Le Guin (2016)
64. The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas, Ursula K. Le Guin (2016)
65. Splendor in the Grass, The Play: Adapted from the Screenplay, William Inge and F. Andrew Leslie (1966)
66. Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog, James Grissom (2015) (highly suspect, all the famous people speak in exactly the same unbelievable diction)

all 2016 booklist posts