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Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology…
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Wayward Girls and Wicked Women: An Anthology of Subversive Stories (1986)

by Angela Carter (Editor)

Other authors: Ama Ata Aidoo (Contributor), Djuna Barnes (Contributor), Jane Bowles (Contributor), Leonora Carrington (Contributor), Angela Carter (Contributor)13 more, Andrée Chedid (Contributor), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Contributor), George Egerton (Contributor), Rocky Gámez (Contributor), Bessie Head (Contributor), Elizabeth Jolley (Contributor), Jamaica Kincaid (Contributor), Vernon Lee (Contributor), Katherine Mansfield (Contributor), Suniti Namjoshi (Contributor), Grace Paley (Contributor), Luo Shu (Contributor), Frances Towers (Contributor)

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401640,426 (3.72)31

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» See also 31 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Standouts:
Violet
Life
A Woman Young & Old
Three Feminist Fables
The Rainy Moon ( )
  adaorhell | Aug 24, 2018 |
As I have said before, any short story collection usually tends to collect 3 stars from me. This is only logical, as any collection will contain the good, the bad and the average: so the mean is likely to cluster around the centre for most (hence the bell-shaped curve of the normal distribution). The exceptions occur when the editor goes out of his/ her way to choose extremely good (or bad!) stories: or when the stories revolve around a common theme, giving and taking from one another, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - as is the case with the book in question.

Wayward Girls and Wicked Women, edited by Angela Carter, is true to its title. This book is filled with stories about women and girls who are wayward in every way, from society's (read men's) viewpoint: written by authors separated by a century. There are confidence tricksters, prostitutes, lesbians and even murderers-but there are no damsels in distress. Each and every one of these women are their own masters.

Thus we meet the con woman of Elizabeth Jolley's The Last Crop; the lesbians of Rocky Gamez's The Gloria Stories and Ama Ata Aidoos's The Plums; the sexually promiscuous women who revel in their own sexuality of Bessie Head's Life and Jane Bowles's A Guatemalan Idyll; and the witches of Colette's Rainy Moon and Frances Tower's Violet. There are also young girls coming to terms with their sexuality in a socially unacceptable way (The Young Girl by Katherine Mansfield and A Woman Young and Old by Grace Paley) and women who have fallen prey to the familiar devil, drink (Wedlock by George Egerton, Aunt Liu by Lo Shu).

All of these stories are not tragedies: not all have happy endings, either. But they have one thing in common - the indefatigable spirit of their heroines (no, I will not use the word protagonist - each of these wayward girls and wicked women are true heroines in their own right).

In style, the stories range from the romantic (Oke of Okehurst by Vernon Lee) to realist (The Long Trial by Andree Chedid). Some of them are akin to fairy tales (The Earth by Djuna Barnes) while some are outright fables (The Debutante by Leonora Crrington, Three Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi). One cannot be even called a story, rather a vignette (Girl by Jamaica Kicaid).

Angela Carter's own story, The Loves of Lady Purple, is the most powerful story of the collection and the most difficult to categorise. It can be seen either as a fable, dark fantasy, or horror: but whatever be the genre, this dark tale of a puppet come to life, making the dark fantasies of her master a horrifying reality, may be seen to supply the theme for the entire book - a puppet breaking its strings.

A worthwhile collection to read and to keep. ( )
1 vote Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
These stories by women and about women, were mostly written in the late 19th century and the first half of 20th century. They are stories about women and girls who definitely know their own minds!

My favourites were "The Young Girl" by Katherine Mansfield, "Three Feminist Fables" by Suniti Namjoshi and "Violet" by Frances Towers. The only two I've read before were "The Loves of Lady Purple" by Angela Carter and "The Debutante" by Leonora Carrington. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Feb 26, 2011 |
Anthology of short stories
1 vote | mulliner | Oct 17, 2009 |
i was a little disappointed. but i had never read any of the stories before and mostly none of the authors so in that way it was interesting. ( )
  mahallett | Feb 6, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carter, AngelaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aidoo, Ama AtaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barnes, DjunaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowles, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carrington, LeonoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carter, AngelaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chedid, AndréeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Colette, Sidonie-GabrielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egerton, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gámez, RockyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Head, BessieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jolley, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, JamaicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, VernonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, KatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Namjoshi, SunitiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paley, GraceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shu, LuoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Towers, FrancesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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(Introduction) 'Wayward Girls and Wicked Women': the title of this collection is, of course, ironic.
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Per WorldCat, this work is not part of the Virago Modern Classics series.
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This best-selling collection of stories extols the female virtues of discontent, sexual disruptiveness and bad manners. Authors include: Ama Ata Aidoo, Jane Bowles, Colette, Bessie Head, Katherine Mansfield and others.

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