Angela Olive Carter, Nights at the Circus

Sarah Sceats (Kingston University)
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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 and influence have grown exponentially since her death (in 1994 there were reputedly…

1875 words

Citation: Sceats, Sarah. "Nights at the Circus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 October 2007 [, accessed 04 December 2023.]

3302 Nights at the Circus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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