It is a surprisingly little-known fact that the novelist Angela Carter was a folk singer. She not only co-founded a folk club in the 1960s with her first husband, folk producer Paul Carter, but she also sang there fortnightly for several years. Carter’s 1960s diaries and writings, and recordings of her singing and playing, give a picture of how highly she regarded folk song as an art form.
We will explore how Carter’s intimate knowledge of folk song seeped not just into the subject matter of her novels and short stories, but right down into their structure.
This talk represents a small part of the speaker’s PhD research at the University of East Anglia. It will ask how Carter’s folk singing praxis affected her imaginative output, in a bid to ask wider questions of how musical performance imbricates itself in literature.