Five years on, Angela Carter brings out two new books

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The Independent Online
To have two books published in one month is good going for any author - and all the more so when you've been dead for five years. The writer churning them out from beyond the grave is, appropriately, that master of vampire literature, Angela Carter.

The publication of The Curious Room, a collection of film scripts, and Shaking A Leg, a collection of journalism, underlines the remarkable way in which Carter's reputation has continued to grow since her death from cancer in 1992. As a writer of fantasy stories whose own wild-haired appearance owed something to the genre, Carter cut a distinctive and much admired figure on the English literary landscape.

Best known for The Company of Wolves, following its acclaimed translation to the big screen by Neil Jordan in 1984, Carter also enjoyed huge critical and popular success with Nights at the Circus and Wise Children, producing in a life cut short at 52 a total of 10 fictional works and two collections of non-fiction.

That figure is about to rise with works that reinforce the Carter image of mythic, feminist prose-poet and reveal the less-well-known side to her - the literary critic and writer on food, travel and fashion. One of the pieces in Shaking a Leg is about the porn star Linda Lovelace.

"Everything interested her," said the writer Joan Smith, who has written the introduction to Shaking a Leg, to be published by Chatto & Windus. "Nothing seems to have daunted her, and few journalists can claim to have such a sure grasp of both high and low culture."

Born in Eastbourne in 1940, Carter read English at Bristol University. Her early novels Shadow Dance (1965) and The Magic Toyshop (1967) soon established her as an original if disturbing writer. The stamp of the Sixties would leave its traces on all her works, which draw on the issues and imagery of feminism, politics and psychology.

Her later fiction is more subtle and diverse in its influence, and is consequently less easy to define. A strange hybrid of fairy tale and realism, it combines dark eroticism with stylishly poised feminist savvy.

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