BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Angela Carter's critique of her contemporary world: politics, history, and mortality

    Okuhata, Yutaka (2019) Angela Carter's critique of her contemporary world: politics, history, and mortality. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    [img] Text
    PhD Thesis.pdf - Full Version
    Restricted to Repository staff only

    Download (1MB)


    In this thesis, I shed new light on Angela Carter’s (1940–1992) critique of her contemporary world, not only as a feminist and socialist but also as a political author who lived through what she once called “the blackest period of human history”. Taking Carter’s remarks about Hiroshima and the Cuban Missile Crisis as my starting point for reinterpreting her responses to the twentieth century, I mainly focus on her engagement with issues of mortality in this unprecedented period when even the meanings of life, death, and survivability changed drastically. Historically speaking, however, post-war Britain, like other advanced countries in Western Europe and North America, also witnessed not only a dramatic decline in infant mortality rates but also a rise in average lifespans due to the development of medical technologies and social welfare services. As is evident in her own writing, while emphasising the horror of “violent death” and the unpredictable possibility of human extinction in the nuclear age, Carter profoundly understood the manageability of “natural death” from the context of the welfare state, in addition to also being fully aware that individual life was well guaranteed, at least in her own “advanced” country. From this perspective, the current thesis explores the mutual “dialogues” between Carter and her contemporary world, with a specific focus on her nine novels as well as her nonfiction work. Examining her attitudes towards political or historical events, such as World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, British decolonisation, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Falklands War, Thatcherism, and the rise of neoliberalism, I aim to show that Carter’s profound interest in the concept of mortality not only underlies her thought and work but is also connected to her awareness of the condition of human lives in the twentieth century.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 13:39
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:10


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item