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.
17 November, 2020