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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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The ‘art of faking’: performance and puppet theatre in Angela Carter’s Japan

The ‘art of faking’: performance and puppet theatre in Angela Carter’s Japan

(p.204) 10 The ‘art of faking’: performance and puppet theatre in Angela Carter’s Japan
The Arts of Angela Carter

Helen Snaith

Manchester University Press

Drawing on Angela Carter’s journals and the short stories she produced during her time in Japan, this chapter explores representations of authenticity in Carter’s work in two ways. Firstly, it assesses the extent to which Carter’s own authentic self can be interpreted from her archival records and her semi-autobiographical short stories that appear in her collection Fireworks (1974) written during her time in Japan. Displaying a ‘self-conscious exoticism’ (Fisher, 2001:169) Carter performs the role of ‘other’ in Japan: a role that has been scripted for her, and one that she is complicit in sustaining. However, Carter capitalizes on this position ‘recognis[ing her] own artificiality’ (Sage, 1994: 27). Secondly, artificiality will be explored through an analysis of Carter’s experiments with Japanese puppet theatre, bunraku. Purposefully avoiding ‘the danger of over-realism’ instead delivering ‘stylization in art and not literal fidelity’ (Keene, 1990: 124), it is the ‘art of faking’ (Buruma, 1984: 69) that is so pertinent to bunraku theatre, an idea that resonates with Carter’s own ideas of in/authenticity.

Keywords:   Japan, puppets, theatre, bunraku

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