Sunday, January 29, 2012

Angela Carter's Words

I have been revisiting Angela Carter's short stories after a few years (in fact the copy I am currently looking at is inscribed inside the front cover as a Christmas gift, 2002!). I have read The Magic Toyshop (owned in several editions) countless times but have until now spent far less time on the shorter stories. I am going to record some of the lines I find useful here, with the idea of using extracts to inspire narrative or contrast when planning a painting composition. My intention is not to illustrate, but refer to and acknowledge Carter as an influence.

Flesh and the Mirror

'...artificial cherry blossom'
'...continuous carnival, no matter what ripples of agitation disturb the never-ceasing, endlessly circulating, quiet, gentle, melencholy crowds who throng the wet web of alleys under a false ceiling of umbrellas.'
'...methodical inversions or mirror images of the dwellers on dry land.'
'...rummaging in the dressing-up box of the heart for suitable appearances to adopt in the city.'
'...pulling the strings of my own puppet; it was the puppet who was moving about on the other side of the glass.'
'Our pelts were stippled with the fretted shadows of the lace curtains'
'Women and mirrors are in complicity with one another to evade the action I/she performs that she/I cannot watch, the action with which I break out of the mirror, with which I assume my appearance.'
'I wanted to take him apart, like a child dismantles a clockwork toy...'


'It looked like the mirror image of a shell, and so it should not have been able to exist outside a mirror; in this world, it could not exist without a mirror.'
'She bent forward so that her necromatic hair brushed my face...'
'The volatile stitchery they produced occupied all the carpetless are of the floor and, in places, was piled up as high as the crippled knees of its maker.'
'...a loose negligee of spider-coloured lace'
'Her eyelids and the cavernous sockets of her eyes were thickly stuck with silver sequins that glittered in the strange, subaqueous, drowned, drowning light that suffused the room...'
'...reflected in a forest pool rather than by silvered glass for the surface of the mirror looked like the surface of motionless water, or of mercury...'
'Kiss yourself in the mirror, the symbolic matrix of this and that, hither and thither, outside and inside.'
'...on this side of the mirror, a smile was no clue whatsoever to intention or to feeling...'

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