The Birth of a “New Woman” In Nights at the Circus


12th ESSE CONFERENCE, Kosice, Slovakia, 29 August - 02 September 2014, pp.64

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Kosice
  • Country: Slovakia
  • Page Numbers: pp.64
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


The birth of a “New Woman” in Nights at the Circus


The term “female bildungsroman” concentrates on the psychological and moral growth of the heroine, the protagonist of the novel, from youth to adulthood. It is a kind of a “coming age story” wherein the character development is very important. Besides the “female bildungsroman” depicts the “suppression and defeat of female autonomy, creativity, and maturity by patriarchal gender norms”.

Angela Carter uses the examples of this genre. She drives forward the oppressed woman profile in her detailed narration and tries to make a deconstruction of grand narratives, such as tales and myths by using this profile.

In her novel Nights at the Circus (1984), Fevvers, the protagonists of the novel, starts a journey to love and happiness and at the same time fights against the patriarchal discourses. Fevvers’ and some other characters in the novel achieve their goal being a “mature woman” gradually but with difficulty. Carter uses fairy tales and intertextuality to support her characters’ development. For example, Fevvers has wings to liberate her and the other women in the novel; Mignon and Lizzie. So, this paper not only does elaborate on how Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus reorder or reorganize certain traditional assumptions of the oppressed female subject that have become a model for women’s role in the society but also the birth of ‘the new woman’ is explained.

Keywords: Female bildungsroman, Intertextuality, Tales,  Patriarchal discourses.


Lect. Yıldırım Özsevgeç/