After recently reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber I have decided to blog about it. (Is blog the right term? I’m still not quite up to speed with all that yet, so bare with me!)
For those who don’t know, Angela Carter was one of the foremost fairytale revisionists and British author responsible for novels such as The Magic Toyshop and Nights at the Circus, and short fiction works such as Fireworks and The Bloody Chamber. Heavily linked with feminism Carter has been quoted saying that it was not her intention was not to do ‘versions’ of fairytales, but “to extract latent content from the traditional stories and to use it as the beginning of new stories”.
Which means this sort of book is right up my street!
As this was my first experience of Angela Carter’s work I was very excited to see what could be in store in her envisioned Red Riding Hoods, Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard.
The title story (and possibly the largest in the book) The Bloody Chamber I found to be quite enthralling, based on a variation on the tale of Bluebeard by Charles Perrault, and captured my imagination from the start. Her attention to detail allowed me to imagine the entire of the scene she was setting and while this could sometimes become overpowering and a slight detraction from the story, without it I doubt I would have followed the escapism into Carter’s world.
By far my favourite story in this book was The Werewolf. As one of the shorter gathered (just 3 pages in length!) it seems to hold a ‘no nonsense’ approach to the sweet tale we know and love, depicting the story in the briefest way and with the bluntest ending. I love the contrast this brings to her other rather elaborately spun stories.
I plan for this to be by no means the end of my experience of Angela Carter, this book was one of the most enjoyable I had read in a long while and the rest of her literary works are solidly on my reading list.
Here is where I write about art and about life.