Artworking Angela Carter’s Wise Children
‘…the moment when the lights go down, the curtain glows, you know that something wonderful is going to happen. It doesn’t matter if what happens next spoils everything; the anticipation itself is always pure. To travel hopefully is better than to arrive, as Uncle Perry used to say. I always preferred foreplay, too. Well. Not always.’
—Angela Carter, Wise Children
Time pictured as sexual energy — satisfaction delayed for the expansion of space inside the time of pleasure. A frequent strategy in late Carter, the transmutation of metaphor, its sacrifice. I recall Walter Benjamin’s treatment of Proust, his idea of memory as disruptive, as theatre…
‘Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, just as the earth is the medium in which dead cities lie buried.’
—Walter Benjamin, Berlin Childhood
Angela Carter’s Wise Children bursts with remembrance but not in any melancholy sense. Memories bristle with a sensuality that pulls the past into a Dionysian moment of present-centeredness. The result is pure joy.