Thumbs up for Wise Children by Angela Carter. Literature.
The sort of book which 99.9% of readers will find incomprehensible; the last .01% will adore. The “Wise Children” of the title are Nora and Dora Chance, twin sisters from a family of famous Shakespearean actors. The book is bawdy, hilarious, sad, gorgeous, crazy, nonlinear, wonderful. Read the following paragraph; if you laugh, read the book.
Some time in or around the year 1870 (her date of birth, like that of so many actresses, a movable feast) our paternal grandmother was born in a trunk and trod the boards from toddler-hood as a fairy, phantom, goblin, eventually, an old stager of eight (give or take a year or two) making her London debut as Mamillis in The Winter’s Tale at Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in, it says here, a ‘somewhat pedantic’ production by the younger Kean (Charles), and a costume copied from a Greek vase, rolling a hoop, a bit of business copied off another Greek vase. Lewis Carroll saw her, sent her an inscribed copy of Alice, invited her to tea and got her to slip her frock off after the crumpets, whereupon he snapped her in the altogether but she drew the line at imitating the action depicted upon certain other Greek vases, or so she always maintained. Here’s the evidence of the encounter. See? He called it Sprite. I bought it at an auction at Christie’s. Cost an arm and a leg. Couldn’t resist. Not many people can boast a photo of their grandmother posing for kiddieporn. I sold one of poor old Irish’s letters to pay for it.
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