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Quotes of the day: Angela Carter

Published Sunday, February 15, 2015 @ 3:59 PM EST
Feb 15 2015

Angela Carter (May 7, 1940 - February 16, 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A book is simply the container of an idea like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.

A day without an argument is like an egg without salt.

Anticipation is the greater part of pleasure.

Anxiety is the beginning of conscience, which is the parent of the soul but is not compatible with innocence.

Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.

Hollywood... was the place where the United States perpetrated itself as a universal dream and put the dream into mass production.

I think it's one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.

If the Barbarians are destroyed, who will we then be able to blame for the bad things?

In a secular age, an authentic miracle must purport to be a hoax, in order to gain credit in the world.

In the mythic schema of all relations between men and women, man proposes, and woman is disposed of.

Is not this whole world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody.

It is far easier for a woman to lead a blameless life than it is for a man; all she has to do is to avoid sexual intercourse like the plague.

It is, perhaps, better to be valued as an object of passion than never to be valued at all.

It's every woman's tragedy, that, after a certain age, she looks like a female impersonator. Mind you, we've known some lovely female impersonators, in our time.

Love is desire sustained by unfulfilment.

Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.

Nostalgia, the vice of the aged. We watch so many old movies our memories come in monochrome.

Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death.

Some cities are women and must be loved; others are men and can only be admired or bargained with.

Soon, nostalgia will be another name for Europe.

Strangers used to gather together at the cinema and sit together in the dark, like Ancient Greeks participating in the mysteries, dreaming the same dream in unison.

The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.

The child's laughter is pure until he first laughs at a clown.

The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.

The tiger will never lie down with the lamb; he acknowledges no pact that is not reciprocal. The lamb must learn to run with the tigers.

There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer.

There was a house we all had in common and it was called the past, even though we'd lived in different rooms.

To be the object of desire is to be defined in the passive case. To exist in the passive case is to die in the passive case- that is, to be killed. This is the moral of the fairy tale about the perfect woman.

To pin your hopes upon the future is to consign those hopes to a hypothesis, which is to say, a nothingness. Here and now is what we must contend with.

We must all make do with the rags of love we find flapping on the scarecrow of humanity.

What is marriage but prostitution to one man instead of many?

Where ambition can cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of passions.


(February 16 is also the birthday of G.M. Trevelyan and Henry Adams.)

Categories: Angela Carter, Quotes of the day


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