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The Arts of Angela CarterA Cabinet of Curiosities$
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Marie Mulvey-Roberts

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526136770

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526136787

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Myths, meat and American Indians: Angela Carter and Claude Lévi-Strauss

Myths, meat and American Indians: Angela Carter and Claude Lévi-Strauss

(p.127) 6 Myths, meat and American Indians: Angela Carter and Claude Lévi-Strauss
The Arts of Angela Carter

Heidi Yeandle

Manchester University Press

This chapter discusses Angela Carter’s engagement with Claude Lévi-Strauss, particularly concentrating on how this shapes her work from 1969–74, a period which coincides with Carter’s time in Japan (1970–72). Through a discussion of Heroes and Villains (1969), The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972) and ‘Master’ – a short story from Fireworks (1974) – the chapter focuses on how Carter’s reading of Lévi-Strauss is central to her depiction of primitive communities in these texts. It argues that this aspect of Carter’s anthropological research, but particularly her references to Tristes Tropiques, The Savage Mind, Structural Anthropology and The Raw and the Cooked, contribute to her satirical depiction of supposedly civilized groups in her fiction, and help to blur the portrayal of civilized and primitive societies in Carter’s work. Moreover, Carter’s engagement with American Indian mythology, particularly myths surrounding cooking and the origin of fire, underpin Doctor Hoffman and ‘Master’ and contribute to the demythologization of myths that portray American Indian tribes as ‘savage’.

Keywords:   Carter, Lévi-Strauss, Japan, Hoffman, Fireworks

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