My academic book about Angela Carter’s folk singing and how it influenced her writing style is now published by Bloomsbury.
Here’s the book cover blurb —
From her unique standpoint as singer-songwriter-scholar, Polly Paulusma examines the influences of Carter’s 1960s folk singing, unknown until now, on her prose writing. Recent critical attention has focused on Carter’s relationship with folk/fairy tales, but this book uses a newly available archive containing Carter’s folk song notes, books, LPs and recordings to change the debate, proving Carter performed folk songs. Placing this archive alongside the album sleeve notes Carter wrote and her diaries and essays, it reimagines Carter’s prose as a vehicle for the singing voice, and reveals a writing style imbued with ‘songfulness’ informed by her singing praxis.
Reading Carter’s texts through songs she knew and sang, this book shows, from influences of rhythm, melodic shape, thematic focus, imagery, ‘voice’ and ‘breath’, how Carter steeped her writing with folk song’s features to produce ‘canorography’: song-infused prose. Concluding with a discussion of Carter’s profound influence on songwriters, focusing on the author’s interview with Emily Portman, this book invites us to reimagine Carter’s prose as audial event, dissolving boundaries between prose and song, between text and reader, between word and sound, in an ever-renewing act of sympathetic resonance.
Polly Paulusma is an independent scholar and professional musician based in the UK.
I’ll be on UK tour this autumn and I can’t wait to play for you.
Starting tomorrow, each day I’ll post across my social media platforms about a different show. On Facebook and Instagram I’ll have a bit more space to talk about the town I’m visiting and what might make each show special.
Another thing – I’ll be dressing up a bit on stage; each song from the new album ‘The Pivot On Which The World Turns’ represents a different role I (we all) play, so I’ll be indulging in some sparkles, some feather boas, possibly a pair of wellies. I would be thrilled if you might use it as an excuse to dress up. Best dressed person gets a free CD!
“A person using words only is never with things in this sense: he remains at a distance from them; they remain for him ‘the other’, that which he is not, ‘outside’ him. By contrast, if his words are not merely spoken but sung, they build a living bridge that links him with the things referred to by the words, that transmutes distinction and separation into togetherness. By means of the tones, the speaker goes out to the things, brings the things from outside within himself, so that they are no longer ’the other’, something alien that he is not, but the other and his own in one. […] Only then can the tones fulfil their purpose: remove the barrier between person and thing, and clear the way for what might be called the singer’s inner partition in that of which he sings — for an active sharing, an experience of a special kind, a spiritual experience.” — Victor Zuckerkandl, ‘The Meaning of Song’
Victor Zuckerkandl, ‘The Meaning of Song’
Please come, get tickets, spread the word, bring your mates, bring your nan, bring anyone you have even vaguely once met, and let’s share this amazing experience of live music together.