Bristol’s Hidden Gothic History: A Female Literary Heritage

Marie Mulvey-Roberts recently delivered her inaugural professorial lecture, entitled ‘Bristol’s Hidden Gothic History: A Female Literary Heritage’, which traced the relationship between several important but under-recognised women writers and the city of Bristol. Among them was Angela Carter, who lived in Bristol during the 1960s in Clifton Village with her first husband Paul Carter. Mulvey-Roberts talked about Carter’s studies at the University of Bristol, including her particular research interest in medieval studies, her home on Royal York Crescent, and some of her literary works which were not only written during her time in Bristol but feature identifiable areas of the city. Her lecture also included discussion of broader themes, in particular the practices of memorialisation and how female figures in history have been and continue to be under-represented.

The audience was also treated to video recordings of Mulvey-Roberts playing a selection of classical pieces of music for the piano to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Carter’s death. Carter loved classical music and grew up hearing her brother playing the piano regularly. Her literary works are peppered with references to composers, including Mozart in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, Chopin in The Passion of New Eve, and J. S. Bach in ‘The Bloody Chamber’. The programme notes for Mulvey-Roberts’ lecture included many fascinating insights into Carter’s love of Classical music, and featured a reproduction from Carter’s notebooks showing her notation of a popular 18th century broadside ‘The Girl with the Box on her Head’, which she sang.

All in all, it was a wonderfully rich and witty lecture, and is further evidence of Mulvey-Roberts’ talents as an academic research, writer and public speaker.

You can watch a recording of the even in the video below or click on the following link:

For more on Angela Carter, head over to the Get Angela Carter website here:

And why not consider becoming a member of the Angela Carter Society:

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