In 1969 Angela Carter won the Somerset Maugham Travel Award for Several Perceptions, and used the prize money to travel to Japan. During her two-year stay there she wrote The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman and the stories collected in Fireworks. In addition to her experiences in Japan and her encounter with de Sade's pornography, Carter's narrative strategies and aims in Doctor Hoffman were also profoundly shaped by an increased interest in surrealism. Doctor Hoffman is an ambitious philosophical novel investigating issues of gender, desire and representation. Probably because of its many fantastical transformations and bizarre plot development, Doctor Hoffman is the novel in Carter's oeuvre that has inspired the largest number of surrealist readings. In addition to its surrealist images and fantastical elements on the level of plot, Doctor Hoffman also ironically adopts a distinctly surrealist manifesto-like style, outlining complex mock-philosophical theories about the nature of love and desire.