October 14: Angela Carter

October 14: Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber" | Daily Literary Quotes @ Literary Cobblestones
October 14: Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” | Daily Literary Quotes @ Literary Cobblestones

Happy Hump Day, Cobblers!

I’m very excited about today’s featured author, Angela Carter, and her collection of short stories, “The Bloody Chamber.”

I saw Carter mentioned on a map of the history of Gothic Literature, so I decided to do some research on her; and the more I read about her and her stories, the more I needed her work in my life. I scanned through a copy of Norton Anthology of Literature by Women from my bookshelf, and yes! right at my fingertips was “The Company of Wolves,” which is one of the short stories from this collection. The concept of these short stories revolves around taking traditional children’s fables and reworking them into adult-themed, feminist stories.

Some scholars label her “magical realism” while others call it “feminist Gothic/Horror”. I think a mix of both probably suits her well, but having read only one story does not qualify me as an expert. I now find myself desperate to buy the whole collection to see where she took other fables from my childhood.

I strongly encourage you to read at least one of these stories, if not all. If you have already read and/or studied Carter, please let me know what you think in the comments below. I’d like to add an extra quote for today because, well, I’ve become a bit obsessed with Carter. Here’s a short passage from “The Company of Wolves”:

Step between the portals of the great pines where the shaggy branches tangle about you, trapping the unwary traveler in nets as if the vegetation itself were in a plot with the wolves who live there, as though the wicked trees go fishing on behalf of their friends — step between the gateposts of the forest with the greatest trepidation and infinite precautions, for if you stray from the path for one instant, the wolves will eat you. They are gray as famine, they are as unkind as plague.” *Swoon*

Now on to business.

Vulture published a feature on why you need to read Carter: “The Feminist Horror Author You Need to Read Immediately.

Salon has a feature focusing on Carter and “Chamber” with a rather interesting title: “Fairy tales, fantasy and dangerous female desire: Celebrating Angela Cart, the literary link between Bros. Grimm and ’50 Shades’.” Here’s an excerpt: “The imperatives of literary fashion aren’t nearly as oppressive as they used to be, so in order to understand what it was like to be Angela Carter, writing in the 1970s and ’80s, we’ll have to use our imaginations. That’s fitting; the imagination was her kingdom.”

And lastly, here’s a fantastic feature on Carter from The Paris Review, and it’s extremely well-written and thoughtful: “Chamber of Secrets: The Sorcery of Angela Carter.” And an excerpt to convince you that it is worth the read: “In this context, Angela Carter made an inspired, marvelous move, for which so many other writers as well as readers will always be indebted to her: she refused to join in rejecting or denouncing fairy tales, but instead embraced the whole stigmatized genre, its stock characters and well-known plots, and with wonderful verve and invention, perverse grace and wicked fun, soaked them in a new fiery liquor that brought them leaping back to life.” 

That’s it for today, my friends, but be sure to check back tomorrow for Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves.”

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3 thoughts on “October 14: Angela Carter

  1. I wrote my undergraduate thesis about Angela Carter! “The Bloody Chamber” collection is a delight. One of my other favorite Carter short stories is “The Fall River Axe Muders” from her “Black Venus” collection (published as “Saints and Strangers” in the US). I think the best way to enjoy her short stories is by picking up a copy of “Burning Your Boats”– it’s an anthology of all her short story collections.

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