Although much of Carter's work is considered part of the contemporary canon, its true strangeness is still only partially understood. Lorna Sage argues that one key to a better understanding of Carter's writings is the extraordinary intelligence with which she read the cultural signs of our times. From structuralism and the study of folk tales in the 1960s to fairy stories, gender politics and the theoretical 'pleasure of the text', which she makes so real in her writing. Carter legitimised the life of fantasy and celebrated the fertility of the female imagination more than any other writer. Lorna Sage's authoritative study explores the roots of Carter's originality, covering all her novels as well as some short stories and non-fiction.