Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Confession: I've been reading, when I can, but I hate Blogger's new interface so much that I've been avoiding it. Bah.

I read Angela Carter's classic collection of stories, The Bloody Chamber, as general research for Sirens, this year focusing on retellings. There are a couple of papers being presented this year that focus on or reference the book, and we considered it for a time for our book-club-like Books and Breakfast program (but ultimately chose not to include it, thinking to include some less-familiar retellings and to make room to highlight more different bookstore age levels, approaches, cultures, and so on).

If Disney's princesses are the shiniest and most spotless, The Bloody Chamber is the grungiest, finding the horrible hearts of the tales that include, among others, Bluebeard, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Red Riding Hood, as well as a take on vampires and a story about the Erl-King, with whom I'm most familiar via lieder. A few of the stories seem rustic, rural, in the way many fairy tales are, but others, like "The Bloody Chamber," have a glamorous, Gatsbyish feel, and I liked those best. Probably no surprise!

Even starting to analyze a single one of the stories would take more than a blog post, but I will mention that it's especially interesting to me that this collection has been adapted--retold--in film and music. And I think that's due to its grotesque charm; you are the fly, and the flytrap, with its awful smell, will eat you.

I read the Penguin paperback edition.

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