Angela Olive Carter: Nights at the Circus

(1878 words)
  • Sarah Sceats (Kingston University)

Published in 1984, Angela Carter’s penultimate novel, Nights at the Circus, was the first to bring her widespread popular acclaim. Initial reviews were contradictory, some lauding and some lamenting its ambitiousness, complexity and extravagance. A few critics were uncomfortable with its political engagement. Some feminist academics who had been enthusiastic about Carter’s earlier work were critical of what they saw as its “lightness” and more celebratory quality in comparison with her more ‘edgy’ earlier fiction. Although it found a place on academic syllabi almost immediately, over the years since its publication this novel has been increasingly viewed as a major work. Carter’s reputation a…

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Sceats, Sarah. "Nights at the Circus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 October 2007
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]