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Title: 'Fictions written in a certain city' : representations of Japan in Angela Carter's work
Author: Snaith, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 4488
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2018
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In 1969, Angela Carter travelled to Japan. She lived there for two and a half years, returning to England twice during this time. When she returned to England for good in 1972, she had changed emotionally, romantically and sexually, with a newfound confidence emerging in her literature. This thesis investigates Carter's time in Japan between 1969 and 1972. It focuses specifically on The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972) and Carter's collection of nine short stories Fireworks (1974). It also draws on Carter's essays about Japan which were written for the New Society, the Statesman and the Guardian. The memoirs of Carter's Japanese lover, Sozo Araki (2018) and the 'Angela Carter Papers' in the British Library also inform this work. This thesis is split four chapters that investigate how Japan is represented in Carter's work. The first chapter assesses how the literary topography of the city evolves in Carter's work in Japan, as she positions herself as 'Other', attempting to navigate and interpret the streets of a foreign city. The second chapter assesses the ways in which images of Japanese theatre appear in Carter's short stories with specific reference to traditional bunraku puppet theatre and kabuki theatre. The third chapter shifts to a comparative analysis of Japanese literature, specifically between Carter and the Japanese author Tanizaki Jun'ichirō (1886-1964). The final chapter investigates Carter's interest in Japanese cinema, specifically the work of Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), assessing the ways in which the techniques employed by Kurosawa are adopted and translated in Carter's fiction. I suggest that Carter's time in Japan exposed her to new aesthetic possibilities: her time abroad saw a shift in her writing style, her sensibilities and her understanding of her own Judeo-Christian culture. Peering through the looking glass perched on the edge of Asia, it was in Japan that Carter 'learnt what it was to be a woman and became radicalised' (1982: 28). Although alienated as 'Other', as a Western Caucasian woman Carter was permitted a position of privileged estrangement. Themes of Otherness, alienation, the real and the unreal, exoticism and desire are all bound up with Carter's writing during this period.
Supervisor: Preece, Julian E. ; Robinson, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral