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Modern Classics Heroes And Villains [Paperback]

Angela Carter
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2011 Penguin Modern Classics

One of two Angela Carter novels, new to Penguin Modern Classics

From early reflections on jazz and Japan, through vigorous refashionings of vampires and werewolves, to stunning snapshots of real-life outcasts and the glorious but tainted world of ‘the rich and famous,’ this complete collection of Angela Carter’s short stories gathers together her previously published books—Fireworks, The Bloody Chamber, Black Venus, American Ghosts and Old World Wonders—with her early work and uncollected stories.


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Review

'An unashamed fantasist, a fabulist of daemonic energy' The Times 'Angela Carter is a genius' -- Victoria Glendinning

About the Author

Angela Carter was born in 1940 of a Scottish father and Yorkshire mother. She read English at Bristol University, and after escaping an early marriage went to live in Japan for a number of years. She wrote nine novels, which blend fantasy, science fiction and gothic, and is often referred to as a writer of magic realism. She died in 1992. Robert Lowell Coover (born February 4, 1932) is an American author and professor in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. He is one of America's pioneering postmodernists. Coover currently splits his time between the USA and London.

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A book that has not aged well May 6 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've read several Angela Carter novels--all of them great, but "Heroes and Villains" disappointed. After the glorious reading offered by "The Magic Toyshop" and "Several Perceptions," I had high expectations for "Heroes and Villains" which it sadly did not meet. A decent novel altogether but it lacks Carter's magical prose and she fails to create a convincing post-apocalyptic world. Furthermore, Marianne and Jewel are not very interesting characters. It is an ambitious story clearly influenced by the guru movement of the 1960's, and although its message is still pertinent, the novel itself feels more like an artifact of the flower power generation. Instead, I would recommend "The Magic Toyshop," "Several Perceptions," "Nights at the Circus" and "The Bloody Chamber" for anyone deeply interested in Angela Carter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sept. 30 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
An astonishing little book describing the throes of a woman caught up in a hopeless post-apocalyptic world. Beautifully written, in a dark, haunting, extistential style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing June 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
beautiful, haunting, thought provoking..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book that has not aged well May 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read several Angela Carter novels--all of them great, but "Heroes and Villains" disappointed. After the glorious reading offered by "The Magic Toyshop" and "Several Perceptions," I had high expectations for "Heroes and Villains" which it sadly did not meet. A decent novel altogether but it lacks Carter's magical prose and she fails to create a convincing post-apocalyptic world. Furthermore, Marianne and Jewel are not very interesting characters. It is an ambitious story clearly influenced by the guru movement of the 1960's, and although its message is still pertinent, the novel itself feels more like an artifact of the flower power generation. Instead, I would recommend "The Magic Toyshop," "Several Perceptions," "Nights at the Circus" and "The Bloody Chamber" for anyone deeply interested in Angela Carter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Savage love April 2 2011
By Jay Dickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Angela Carter's 1969 novel, while difficult to find in the United States, is an important work in her oeuvre: it marked her willingness to be hampered less by the demands of realism (the bounds of which she had pushed in her previous novels given their obsessive interest in fantasy) and to give full rein to her interest in the fantastic. In many ways, this short novel is a reworking of the basic story of her previous and better-known work THE MAGIC TOYSHOP, where a young girl is violently transported from the home of her upbringing to a savage and dreamlike realm dominated by a vicious patriarchal enchanter figure, except here we are now more firmly in the genre of fantasy fiction: her Marianne lives in a concrete-constructed world of the Professors and Soldiers, the last bulwark of civilization after a great nuclear war, and she is carried away by a "barbarian" named Jewel to the jungles that now infest Great Britain. (At the point of Marianne's transition, Carter's prose becomes much less sterile and assumes the richer and more dense qualities readers more often associate with her work.) Although the rogue professor living among and dominating the barbarians is an opponent for Marianne, her more complex antagonism is with Jewel, who becomes first her friend, then her rapist, and finally her husband. It might well be that the discomfiting relations of power and sex between the two characters, which are quite difficult to fit into current contemporary paradigms of relations between the sexes, is why this novel is not better known among Carter's work. (The nothing title, which Carter took from the famous Beach Boys song, is also likely a reason.) But it's a rich and fascinating fiction, and deserves to be read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming June 1 2010
By L. LaRue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading this book is like being covered with dead leaves and undergoing a personal process of transformation into the most potently fertile mulch, if this can be done as poetry and with vitality and supernatural grace.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sept. 30 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An astonishing little book describing the throes of a woman caught up in a hopeless post-apocalyptic world. Beautifully written, in a dark, haunting, extistential style.
2.0 out of 5 stars Is the Savage Noble or Creepy? Aug. 21 2011
By Tim Lieder - Published on Amazon.com
There is a site called Expanded Horizons with the stated mission to expand fantasy and science fiction away from the white male dominant paradigm that seems to be entrenched in the genres. The Submission Guidelines are some of the funniest submission guidelines around due to the fact that the editors are venting their frustration on armies of clueless writers who have very bad definitions of multiculturalism. Howlers include "no lizard people" and "please don't set your story in the future where your main character is the only straight white male in existence." However, one of the more oft repeated "do not want" lines is the request to not create an alien or future species as a stand-in for Indians (or gypsies for that matter).

Angela Carter wrote this Man Called Horse novel at a time when a future human tribe that mimics Indians without being any particular tribe must have seemed innovative and brave instead of the tired cliche that makes your eyes roll in painful circles. As recently as 1989, silly little tripe like Dances With Wolves could win the academy award for depicting Indians as new age noble savages.

So this book has the protagonist growing up in a post-apocalyptic settlement of professors guarded by soldiers. The fake Indians raid and people die. About a third of the way through, she gets kidnapped by the Indians (or savages) and dispenses with all that noble vs. ignoble savage jargon. Then there's a lot of blather about how Jewel is supposed to be her husband or lover or rapist. It's all very wordy and not terribly interesting.

This is a dull book with a lot of dull action and uninteresting dialogue that doesn't really add up to much of anything. By the end of it, there's no real resolution besides a lot of books getting burned and Marianne being in a worse place than she started - making one assume that this was probably the first chapter in a trilogy or quadrology or whatever.
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