Angela Carter is an English novelist born on May 7, 1940 in Eastbourne, England. As a child, she was raised in a family that valued art and literature. Her father was a journalist, and she followed in his footsteps by writing for the Croydon Advertiser. After graduating from Streatham and Clapham High School, she attended the University of Bristol to study English. Carter’s foray into novel-writing began with the publication of Shadow Dance in 1966, a story known by critics for its eccentric characters and complex storyline.
In 1977, Carter released her novel entitled The Passion of New Eve, which takes place in a dystopian America where war has broken out between genders and races. The protagonist, Evelyn, is a male professor who is abducted and forcibly given gender reassignment surgery. The novel is filled to the brim with shocking scenes of violence and gore, a characteristic of the piece that can attract or repulse some readers. Undoubtedly controversial, The Passion of New Eve is a post-feminist novel that artfully weaves elements of science fiction and magical realism.
Upon its publication, Carter’s book received positive reviews for its explicit depiction of an apocalyptic United States. Karen Lively of The California Journal of Women Writers states that “Carter’s frequent foreshadowing creates a prophetic voice that is powerfully and disturbingly ambiguous—one that will haunt you long after reading the final page.” After The Passion of the New Eve, Carter would go on to write two more novels, Nights at the Circus (1984) and Wise Children (1991), as well as several other non-fiction pieces and short stories. However, her illustrious literary career was cut short when she died of lung cancer on February 16, 1992 at age 51.