Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr Anna Watz, author of Angela Carter and Surrealism: A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic (Routledge, 2016). In the course of our conversation, we discussed Angela Carter’s complex relationship to surrealism, her little-known and unpublished translation of a French study of surrealism, and how both of these things played an important role in the development of her feminism.
Caleb Sivyer: Could you begin by telling me something about your background and how you first came across Angela Carter’s work?
Anna Watz: So I did my first degree in Sweden, at Uppsala University, and at that point I had not heard of Carter. I only encountered her work when I studied at the University of East Anglia as part of an Erasmus exchange. One day, I was browsing in the campus bookshop and I found a copy of Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories (1995). I started reading ‘The Bloody Chamber’ and just fell in love. So that was how I encountered Carter for the first time. She’s not really that well known in Sweden, and at that time, the late 1990s, only The Magic Toyshop (1967), Nights at the Circus (1984) and The Sadeian Woman (1979) had been translated into Swedish. They were all translated in the 1980s I believe. Then, a few years ago, The Passion of New Eve (1977) was translated into Swedish. And then just a couple of weeks ago Edmund Gordon’s biography of Carter was reviewed on the radio in Sweden. So I think maybe there’s a growing interest in Carter in Sweden at the moment.
CS: Did you work on Carter as a graduate student in the UK?
AW: I stayed on for an extra year at UEA in order to take an MA in literary translation, and I did my dissertation on Carter. I translated some stories from The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979) into Swedish. That was an important lesson in translating literary texts. Literary translation is already a complex task, but Carter, in particular, with her baroque language and the surreal juxtapositions of images and so on, getting that into another language was very challenging. To translate the artificial quality of her prose into another language and make it sound good is really, really difficult.
“Literary translation is already a complex task, but Carter, in particular, with her baroque language and the surreal juxtapositions of images and so on, getting that into another language was very challenging.”
CS: Was her particular style of humour difficult to translate as well? It’s not always clear what is to be read straight and what is to be read as parody.
AW: Absolutely. And so much of it is bizarre as well, which is also a particular brand of funny. How do you convey that in different prose? It’s very difficult. I remember my dad read one story that I had translated, I believe it was ‘The Company of Wolves’, and he said that it didn’t sound very natural. Well, it’s not meant to sound natural! [Laughs] So you could be accused of being a bad translator if the reader doesn’t realise what it’s meant to be like.
CS: Last year, you published a book entitled Angela Carter and Surrealism: ‘A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic’. Did this have its origins in doctoral research?
AW: Yes, the book came out of my PhD thesis, but I have revised some parts.
CS: How did you come to be interested in this relationship between Carter and Surrealism?
AW: I knew from the first story that I read by Carter that I wanted to work on her in the future. It was almost a self-evident choice when I did my PhD that that was what I wanted to write about. But I didn’t know straightaway that I wanted to write about Surrealism. In retrospect I can see that what actually attracted me to Carter in the first place was her surrealism but I lacked a name for it then. What I knew was that I loved these strange images and juxtapositions, this slight artificiality, and also her unapologetic feminist politics. All of that really resonated with me. Carter had a major part in my development as a feminist. But certainly what really appealed to me in the first place was her feminist surrealism, though I didn’t know that that was what it was at the time. Eventually it revealed itself to me.
“Carter had a major part in my development as a feminist. But certainly what really appealed to me in the first place was her feminist surrealism”.
CS: In your book, you chart Carter’s changing relationship to surrealism. What has your own intellectual relationship to surrealism been like? Did you go on a similar journey to Carter?
AW: It’s a good question and one which I hadn’t really considered much. Obviously, I studied the history of art and I came to appreciate surrealism without at first realising that it had some ideological problems. It was really only when I read Carter and, indeed, Gauthier that I saw surrealism with fresh eyes. In a way, that’s when it became really interesting for me, or more interesting. There’s something unresolved there that is really interesting to investigate, a kind of ambivalence. Carter was very fond of the surrealists and then became disappointed with some of their attitudes. Whilst she claims that she rejected surrealism, I don’t think that that is quite true. As I say in the book, I think that she rejects certain things about surrealism, but I believe it’s a misreading to take her at her word and think that she’s just critiquing the movement. On the contrary, I think that she’s trying to extend it and write herself into it in a way by changing it.
“I think that [Carter] rejects certain things about surrealism, but I believe it’s a misreading to take her at her word and think that she’s just critiquing the movement. On the contrary, I think that she’s trying to extend it and write herself into it in a way by changing it.”
CS: I think one of the strengths of your book is that it presents a nuanced account of Carter’s relationship to surrealism. You show through careful readings that Carter never simply leaves surrealism behind but continues to draw inspiration from it, even as she subjects the movement to critique.
AW: Yes, exactly. There is something that Carter keeps coming back to in surrealism. Something in surrealism that is productive for her, despite its problematic aspects.
CS: What is it that she keeps returning to in surrealism? Is it that notion of finding the marvellous in the everyday, the technique of defamiliarisation? Is it the revolutionary spirit?
AW: I think that it might have changed over the years. When she started writing, I think she was drawn to the anti-establishment and scandalous aspect of surrealism. She also read a lot of surrealist poetry which invoked the marvellous when she was young, and indeed she wrote a lot of poetry at that time too. I think maybe it is all those things that you mentioned. She was particularly fascinated by the surrealist image, the juxtaposition of incongruous images. You can see that in her own poetry, she’s trying to emulate a Bretonian quality or something like that with her use of strange images. When she became interested in the Marquis de Sade later in her career, she became interested in a slightly different aspect of surrealism and she found that very productive for her own feminism. So I think surrealism serves different purposes at different times throughout her career. But I think what she keeps coming back to is this sense that it’s possible to invent something new, to see the marvellous in the everyday, as you put it, to engage in a utopian project. Particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality; as a feminist one wants to change things and renew things, at the same time that it is not self-evident how that will happen. As I say in the book, I think there’s a sense in her later work that we have certain things that we can work with. It’s not like we can step outside of culture and redo things in a completely new way. We are limited by the discourse that is available. But at the same time, I think there is a utopian aspect there, suggesting that real change is possible, which comes through in surrealism.
“I think surrealism serves different purposes at different times throughout [Carter’s] career.”
CS: Is it possible to schematise Carter’s use of surrealism throughout the different stages of her career? Does she draw on surrealism in a different way in her early novels as compared with her later texts?
AW: Yes, her use of surrealism does change throughout her career. There’s a clear interest in the marvellous in her early fiction, that sense of defamiliarisation of the everyday, definitely in the so-called “Bristol Trilogy”. Obviously, with The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972) she goes into a different world, a very surrealist world. I think with this text, as well as with The Sadeian Woman (1979) and The Passion of New Eve, Carter is really working with surrealism in a very active and direct sense. But it’s not just surrealism that she’s engaging with; it’s also surrealist scholarship to a very large extent, and not just Xavière Gauthier’s book Surréalisme et sexualité (1971). She clearly draws a lot on other critics, such as Sarane Alexandrian’s book Surrealist Art (1969). That book keeps coming back again and again in her fiction, along with a few other books that seem to have influenced her thinking about surrealism. And then I think she goes back to surrealism and finds news things. So it’s like a dialogue. I think the role of surrealist scholarship has been underestimated in critical works that look at Carter’s relationship to surrealism. I think that her relationship to surrealist scholarship is a key aspect of her appreciation of surrealism. She was obviously a very well-read person and she read a lot of secondary sources as well as primary ones. And then in a text like Nights at the Circus, you have quite a surrealist character in Fevvers. But at this point in her career, Carter isn’t really using as many direct allusions to surrealism as she was in texts like The Passion of New Eve and The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman. I think by this point her previously direct and very intertextual engagement with surrealism, particularly with the male surrealists, becomes more attenuated, which perhaps happens after she has done with Sade at the end of the 1970s! [Laughs] Not that she is ever really done with Sade! But after she had published her book on Sade, which took her a really long time to complete, I think she moves on to something slightly different and surrealism is not such a pronounced intertext anymore.
“[Carter’s] interest in surrealism was very much an intellectual project and she draws on secondary literature very strongly. But she also said that she was blown away by surrealist art itself, and you can really see this in her fiction.”
CS: Was the secondary literature on surrealism perhaps more important than the primary sources? Carter often comes across in interviews and through her journals as a very intellectual person. Was her interest in surrealism more an intellectual pursuit? How familiar was she with surrealist painting, poetry and prose?
AW: I think it’s both. It is an intellectual project. Her interest in surrealism was very much an intellectual project and she draws on secondary literature very strongly. But she also said that she was blown away by surrealist art itself, and you can really see this in her fiction. So she clearly had strong aesthetic reactions to surrealist poetry and art. I think it’s nice that it can be both a personal response and an intellectual project, something that touches you emotionally and interests you intellectually. A bit like how I experience Carter’s fiction, in fact.
CS: The subtitle of your book, ‘A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic’, positions Carter’s surrealism as related to feminist politics. What is the nature of that relationship between surrealism and feminism for Carter?
AW: To begin with, I think that for Carter these two things are related in that surrealism appears to offer something new – an alternative to the norm. Surrealism is a way of reimagining, for example, gender roles. Carter herself uses the technique of shocking you into seeing things in new ways, which is the idea behind strange juxtapositions and that kind of thing. Her fiction is quite shocking in that sense in that it jolts you out of your everyday way of thinking about things. So that surrealist technique can be used really fruitfully for feminism or feminist purposes. I also think Carter was fascinated by the surrealist attitude towards femininity and she found something there that could be explored for feminist purposes. And this led her to an interest in Sade, the possibility of using Sade for feminism. I think she sees in surrealism a way of putting female victimisation on display in order to subvert it, for example. The ambiguous thing about surrealism is that it’s not always clear whether these images are meant as a critique of gendered norms or if they are fantasies or erotic unconscious desires that are actually rather misogynist. Or both at the same time. I think Carter partly uses surrealism to put patriarchy on display, like she does with Sade, a strategy that Luce Irigaray suggests in This Sex Which Is Not One: “Perhaps if the phallocracy that reigns everywhere is put unblushingly on display, a different sexual economy may become possible?” There is a similarity here between Carter and Irigaray, a desire to show the grotesqueness of power relations under patriarchy.
“I think Carter partly uses surrealism to put patriarchy on display, like she does with Sade, a strategy that Luce Irigaray suggests in This Sex Which Is Not One“.
CS: Did any of the surrealists have this idea of putting gender relations on display?
AW: I think that you can read the way that many surrealist artists play with representations of ‘Woman’ and femininity as a questioning of rigid categorisations of gender and of putting pressure on the boundary lines of gender. But there’s been a debate about this going on in studies of surrealism since the 1970s, particularly thanks to Gauthier’s book. Are surrealist representations of femininity misogynistic or something else? The art historian Rosalind Krauss claims that they are often proto-feminist, that there is something really revolutionary there and that we shouldn’t read surrealism as simply misogynistic. So it depends on how you see it. I think that the reason Carter found surrealism misogynistic or problematic is mainly because of the way that the surrealists often idealised the figure of ‘Woman’ and invested her with all sorts of mythical, essentialist qualities. In surrealist poetry, ‘Woman’ is often put on a pedestal. But up there you don’t really have any agency. By contrast, Carter found the distorted female figures and the violence in other surrealist art much more interesting.
CS: In the book, you discuss Carter’s interest in particular surrealist artists including Andre Breton and George Bataille. Could you talk a little about this? Who was she drawn to and why?
AW: Carter was initially drawn to Breton but eventually came to be annoyed at him for being such a patriarchal man! [Laughs] The way that he led the movement and expelled people, for example, for being gay, or his attitude towards women put Carter off him. She was really annoyed with the way that he treated Nadja, the woman at the centre of his roman-à-clef of the same name. He uses her as a muse, the perfect irrational muse, but then when she got a bit too irrational he just abandoned her in a mental hospital. Whereas for example Bataille, who was working along a much more Sadeian line, Carter finds more useful in her later works. And I think that change of allegiance partly comes from Gauthier. As I write in the book, Gauthier really inspired Carter to think about Sade. I think there are a lot of Gauthier’s ideas in The Sadeian Woman.
What I call Carter’s ‘feminist libertarian aesthetic’ – which is the term Carter used to describe Gauthier’s book – refers to her feminist appropriation of both Sade and surrealism (and also, to some extent, her intellectual convergence with the anarcha-feminist Emma Goldman).
CS: Do you think Carter’s interest in the differences between surrealists, like that between Breton and Bataille, is partly a political thing? Was she interested in the politics of surrealism in that sense?
AW: We’re talking about two different societies and time periods: it’s France in the 1920s and 1930s and Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, in the 1960s counter-culture, the political spirit of surrealism did return, for example in the Situationist International. So I think surrealist politics was present but updated for a different kind of time. The same sort of revolutionary spirit was there even if the political landscape had changed. That spirit was taken up as useful. And of course, on a basic level, both Carter and the surrealists were socialists (or Marxists even) – so in that sense she was of course on the same page as them politically.
CS: Do you discuss the Situationists in your book and was Carter interested in that movement?
AW: Carter only refers to them very briefly in one of her essays, in ‘Truly, It Felt Like Year One’ I believe. Of course things were different in Britain than in France at that time, but I’m sure the spirit of revolt travelled across the channel.
CS: We’ve talked about poetry, prose and art, but was Carter interested in surrealist cinema also?
“I think the main aspects of the surrealist films by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel that Carter was impressed by were the kind of crazy, shocking juxtapositions, the unconscious irrupting into the real, and so on.”
AW: Well Carter, as you know, watched a lot of films! [Laughs] And that did include surrealist films. She says that she watched Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age d’Or (1930) very early on in the 1960s and she says about the latter that it shaped her. I want to say it was an eye-opener for her but that seems more appropriate when talking about Un Chien Andalou given the famous scene with the eye! [Laughs] When it comes to film, obviously Carter took a lot of influences from other kinds of film too, such as the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard. But I think the main aspects of the surrealist films by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel that Carter was impressed by were the kind of crazy, shocking juxtapositions, the unconscious irrupting into the real, and so on. They are strikingly visual documents. And the blasphemy, particularly of L’Age d’Or, appealed to her also. You can see that influence in Shadow Dance (1966) with Honeybuzzard’s blasphemous act at the end of the novel. I’m sure that that comes partly from the surrealists. As we can see in her late short story ‘Alice in Prague, or the Curious Room’ (1990), surrealist cinema continued to influence her throughout her entire career, and not only ‘historical’ surrealist films but contemporary ones like the Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer’ Alice from 1988.
CS: You’ve made reference to Gauthier a few times but we haven’t talked about her directly yet. Can you now say a little about who she is, how Carter came to read her, and what influence she had on Carter?
AW: So, Xavière Gauthier is of the same generation as Carter, and her book Surréalisme et sexualité, which Carter translated, was her PhD thesis. She published it in French with Gallimard in 1971 and it became an immediate sensation. Gauthier told me herself that Simone de Beauvoir telephoned her after it was published to congratulate her. So the book was a big success and was reprinted several times. It was also translated into several languages during the 1970s, including Italian, German, and Japanese. After Gauthier finished that project she moved into the debates in France about écriture féminine and other things. Those debates were often quite violent and polemical, and were polarised between differentialist feminists and materialist feminists (the latter following Beauvoir). After having written Surréalisme et sexualité, she largely abandoned surrealism. She continued to be very interested in the painter Leonor Fini, though, and even wrote a book about her. (The cover of my book features a painting by Fini, incidentally.) She even knew Fini quite well personally. Gauthier went on to found a journal devoted women’s writing and écriture féminine in 1975, and she wrote a few novels too. She also wrote some quite influential essays about écriture féminine.
“Xavière Gauthier is of the same generation as Carter, and her book Surréalisme et sexualité, which Carter translated, was her PhD thesis. She published it in French with Gallimard in 1971 and it became an immediate sensation. Gauthier told me herself that Simone de Beauvoir telephoned her after it was published to congratulate her.”
CS: So how did Carter get involved in translating Surréalisme et sexualité into English? Was it her idea or was she approached by a publisher?
AW: Well, I always imagined that Carter read the book first and then approached Calder and Boyars, soliciting a contract to translate it. But Edmund Gordon suggests in his biography that she was approached by the publisher. In any case, we know from the correspondence between Carter and Marion Boyars,that she really liked Surréalisme et sexualité, that it resonated with her as a feminist and as a surrealist (as she calls herself at this point), and that she would love to translate it. So then Carter got a contract to translate it and she spent most of the second half of 1972 and the first half of 1973 on this project. At this point, Carter is living in Bath after returning from Japan. Carter didn’t really know what she would do for work once back in England, so I think translating Gauthier’s book is partly about earning money. Carter submitted her translation in 1973 but then didn’t really hear anything until about a year later when it was revealed to her that there had been some complaints about her translation from the American publisher (Basic Books). An American editor had read her translation and didn’t think it was good enough. So I think that what probably happened next was that Carter panicked and withdrew it.
CS: That’s a shame. Has the book been translated into English since then?
AW: No it still hasn’t been translated into English, although Gauthier has asked me to produce a translation so I have begun that project and am hoping to publish it at some point in the future. I think it’s really remarkable that it hasn’t been translated into English, given that it’s been a key text in surrealism studies. One consequence of this is that the text has been reduced to an argument that I don’t believe the book really puts forward. Many critics assume that Gauthier simply rejected surrealism in this book but actually it’s much more complicated than that if you read it. But again, because it hasn’t been translated into English, critics often recycle an interpretation of this book that isn’t really true.
CS: So what are some of the main influences that Gauthier had upon Carter? What did Carter take from Surréalisme et sexualité?
AW: Well, firstly Carter clearly took a lot of images, a lot of visual descriptions of things from Gauthier. You can see various verbal echoes from Surréalisme et sexualité. I think you can see that Carter is using Gauthier to talk about certain surrealist works of art, for example. This happens a lot in The Sadeian Woman and in The Passion of New Eve particularly. Carter read Surréalisme et sexualité after she had finished writing The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, which is perhaps surprising given how surrealist that text is; it is almost as if Carter had anticipated Gauthier’s own argument. It seems that Gauthier’s book confirmed something that Carter had already intuited. Gauthier’s book works through many surrealist works of art and literature, describing and analysing them, and Carter clearly takes a lot from this for her own imagery in her texts. But of course she takes Gauthier’s feminist analysis too, for the book is not just a critique of surrealism but a piece of feminist theory as well. In Surréalisme et sexualité Gauthier coins the phrase femellitude, which is a kind of precursor to the term écriture féminine. It names a representation of woman that is not complicit with patriarchal or phallocentric language. In coining this term Gauthier was inspired by the term negritude and says so explicitly in the book. Gauthier is also demythologising surrealism following de Beauvoir’s methodology. Indeed, she was very influenced by de Beauvoir at this point, although she rejected her thought later on. And I think Carter adopts that Beauvoiresque technique as well. Surréalisme et sexualité is very much a book with a demythologising agenda and Carter was clearly inspired by that. Carter’s demythologising project, as she refers to it, comes largely from Gauthier and de Beauvoir, as well as from Roland Barthes.
“Surréalisme et sexualité is very much a book with a demythologising agenda and Carter was clearly inspired by that.”
CS: Where is Gauthier’s influence felt in Carter’s oeuvre: in the fiction, in The Sadeian Woman, in the journalism, in her private journals? Or does it permeate everything she writes?
AW: I think it makes itself felt most strongly in The Passion of New Eve and The Sadeian Woman, but not so much in her journalism. One thing that I find really fascinating is that Carter never mentions Gauthier publicly! She doesn’t ever mention her, apart from in her private journals. She doesn’t talk about her in interviews or write anything about her in her various journalistic essays.
CS: Do you think that might be connected to her anxiety about the quality of her translation of Surréalisme et sexualité?
AW: I think so, I think so. Whatever the reason, it is interesting that she doesn’t mention Gauthier at all.
CS: Could you give a brief outline of your book?
My book traces Carter’s engagement with surrealist aesthetics and politics from her first novel, Shadow Dance, up to the end of her career. It focuses specifically on Shadow Dance, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, The Sadeian Woman and The Passion of New Eve. As I show, these works map the trajectory that Carter’s feminist appropriation of surrealism describes, in which her translation of Gauthier’s Surréalisme et sexualité plays a key role. The later chapters of the book employ the concept of mythology as a lens through which to think about the intersection between surrealism, structuralism/poststructuralism and feminism in Carter’s work. The book also briefly discusses Nights at the Circus as well as Carter’s work as anthologist of short stories and fairy tales. I suggest that we see Carter’s anthologising as a kind of surrealist practice of collecting, adopted for feminist purposes.
CS: Can you talk about Carter’s relationship to Leonora Carrington, whose work is featured in Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter at the RWA, and were there other female surrealists that interested her?
AW: Well, Carter actually initially says something rather reductive about Carrington’s work: in her essay ‘The Alchemy of the Word’, published in 1978 for Harper’s & Queen, she says that Carrington wrote “prim stories”. [Laughs] So, I’m not sure how much surrealist art by women Carter had encountered at that point in her career. I think maybe some of that work Carter would have seen in Gauthier’s book. Indeed, Gauthier mentions Carrington a handful of times but talks more about Leonor Fini and Joyce Mansour. But Carter’s engagement with surrealism in her own work is mainly with male artists, as with her engagement with various literary traditions. It’s mainly with male surrealists that Carter engages in a deeply critical way. In the 1970s, I don’t think you can see that much influence upon her work by female surrealists, although I do find it interesting to read her work alongside female surrealists because I find that they are doing very similar things. I think it’s fruitful to see Carter as a female surrealist, as one of this group of artists, although she comes a generation later. Then, a little later, in the 1980s, she does collect Carrington’s short story ‘The Debutante’ in her anthology of women’s writing published by Virago, Wayward Girls and Wicked Women (1986). So by that point, Carter had obviously read some of Carrington’s work and was impressed enough by ‘The Debutante’ to think it was worthy of inclusion in her anthology. However, I don’t know whether or not Carter read Carrington’s novel The Hearing Trumpet (1976), which came out in French as Le Cornet acoustique in 1974 (but was actually originally written in English, in the 1950s). She would have loved it; it’s so funny. Indeed, it is Carteresque. So I think it’s fruitful to look at Carter and Carrington in comparison rather than to try to trace some kind of influence.
CS: What of surrealism’s legacy today? What would Carter have made of surrealism in contemporary culture, had she lived? Do you think she would have continued to draw on it in her work?
AW: I suppose popular culture has made surrealism into quite a flat concept. Already in the 1960s, surrealism had entered the art galleries and become institutionalised, and this was very much against what many surrealists had wanted. Nowadays, surrealism is everywhere in popular culture but in a kind of flattened way. I do think the spirit of surrealism has pertinence and currency in today’s world. However, the watered-down version of surrealism that we see in popular culture and that is used in advertising has little or no political power. But the actual surrealist strategies of representation are still very powerful, and I think that we can see that in contemporary art. Furthermore, nowadays you can’t think about surrealism without the element of feminism coming in to it because it’s been so debated. What’s come out of those debates and what Carter contributed to is a new avant-garde that maintains a surrealist sensibility or spirit, a surrealist politics and aesthetics, and which has incorporated feminism into it. I feel this is still very relevant today. I don’t think that Carter would have abandoned surrealism if she had continued to live on.
“[W]hat Carter contributed to is a new avant-garde that maintains a surrealist sensibility or spirit, a surrealist politics and aesthetics, and which has incorporated feminism into it.”
CS: What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to write more about Carter? Do you have any projects that you are working on that you can talk about now?
AW: I have a few smaller projects on Carter that are in the pipeline. I’m also working on a book on representations of female submission in contemporary popular fiction – I think Carter would have had a lot to say about that topic! [Laughs] I am also particularly interested in the period of the 1970s when surrealism met avant-garde feminism. I’ve been led to that through Gauthier’s book, obviously, but also from writings by Hélène Cixous, Irigaray, Julia Kristeva and others. They take things from the historical avant-garde and then work it through their feminism. Indeed, Carter was doing similar things in the UK at that time. I think there is much to explore there and that’s what I want to do next.
CS: Thank you very much for your time Anna.
Dr Anna Watz is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Linköping University. Her monograph Angela Carter and Surrealism: A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic is published by Routledge (2016). Watz has also published a number of articles and book chapters, on topics such as feminism, poststructuralism and surrealism. Her current research concerns representations of female desire in contemporary popular fiction, and she is currently working on a monograph entitled Paradoxical Pleasures: Female Submission in Popular and Erotic Fiction, under contract with I.B. Tauris. Her other research interests include avant-garde art and literature (in particular surrealism); the writing of Leonora Carrington; feminist theory; and the historiography of écriture féminine.