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Ludics and Laughter as Feminist Aesthetic

Angela Carter at Play

Jennifer Gustar is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. She is North American Reviews Editor for Contemporary Women’s Writing (OUP).

Caleb Sivyer is an Associate Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He has published on Angela Carter and J. G. Ballard, and has forthcoming publications on Alison Bechdel and Virginia Woolf.

Sarah Gamble is a Senior Lecturer in English and Gender at Swansea University, Wales. She has published extensively on Angela Carter and Feminism, and The Routledge Companion to Feminism and Postfeminism (2001).

Angela Carter’s provocations to laughter and her enchantment with ludic narrative strategies are two key aspects of her aesthetic practice, neither of which has been the focus of sustained study. Ludics and Laughter as Feminist Aesthetic: Angela Carter at Play responds to this lacuna in Carter criticism. This international collection of eleven essays from acclaimed Carter scholars and emerging voices in the field of Carter studies seeks to reclaim play as a serious undertaking for feminist writing and scholarship and to foreground laughter as a potent affect. While Carter’s work turned to comedy in the later years, from the first publication in 1966 until her last in 1992, her fiction, poetry and journalism engaged in sharp social and cultural critique; she habitually engaged this critique through ludic structures and wickedly funny narratives that challenged conventional norms and ways of thinking. Contributors explore the diverse ways in which Carter compelled a complex and often uneasy laughter by means of a controversial aesthetic that merges a persistently ludic sensibility with a biting intransigent wit. This volume draws on theories of play, surrealism, feminism, as well as studies of feminist humour and Carter’s own journals and diaries to reveal the ways in which her work moves readers towards the unexpected. This volume will be of relevance both to scholars of Carter’s work and of feminist humour more generally; as well, it will be of interest to students and general readers of Carter's fiction, journalism and poetry.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-005-7
Hardback Price: £80.00 / $94.95
Release Date: February 2021
Page Extent / Format: 300 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Prelude: Jennifer Gustar

Part One: ‘Carter’s Funny Bone’—Feminist Laughter
1. Martine Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère. Angela Carter’s "Furious Laughter:" Baudelaire, Breton, Beckett.
2. Sarah Gamble. From the Margins to the Text: Monsters and Laughter in Angela Carter's Writing.
3. Anna Bland. Angela Carter’s Funny Bone
4. Marine Furet. The Indigestible Poetics of Angela Carter

Part Two: ‘The Play’s the Thing’—Ludic Feminism
5. Jennifer Gustar. Ludic Liminality: ‘Certain Kinds of Exuberance.’
6. Anna Watz. “Scattered and Recomposed”: Poststructuralist Play in The Passion of New Eve.
7. Caleb Sivyer. Nothing Immune: Angela Carter at Play.
8. Maggie Tonkin. Terrible Intersections: The Party as Performative Space in Angela Carter's Fiction.

Part Three: ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’—Feminist F(r)ictions and Fusions.
9. Marie Emilie Walz. Dora and Medusa Share a Laugh: Angela Carter’s Play on Hélène Cixous’s Feminist Theory in Wise Children.
10. Emilie Walezak. Thatcher, the Carnivalesque and Punishing Laughter: Angela Carter and the Ambiguities of the Comic.
11. Katharine Donn. The Cyborg in the Tigresses’ Hide: Angela Carter’s Postmodern Ecologies.


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