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The Bloody Chamber

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Amy Greenhough

on 19 October 2014

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Transcript of The Bloody Chamber

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
Intended to document oral folktale
Initially aimed at adults
Remarketed and altered for the nursery
Hans Christian Andersen
Charles Perrault
Histoires ou Contes du temps passé /
Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
Angela Carter
'I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the bottles explode.’
Angela Carter, “Notes from the Front Line”,
On Gender and Writing
, 1983, p. 69.
Kinder und Hausmärchen
(Children and Household Tales)
First edition - 1812
Fairy Tales 1835
'I’m in the demythologising business. I’m interested in myths…just because they are extraordinary lies designed to make people unfree'
Angela Carter, 'Notes from the Front Line',
On Gender and Writing
, p. 71.
The Oral Folktale
The Literary Fairy Tale
‘There is scarcely an adult or child born in the twentieth century who, in the western world, has not been exposed to a Disney fairy-tale film or artifact. Our contemporary concept and image of a fairy tale have been shaped and standardized by Disney so efficiently through the mechanisms of the culture industry that our notions of happiness and utopia are and continue to be filtered through a Disney lens even if it is myopic.’
Jack Zipes, The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films, p. 17.
The Feminist Fairy Tale
The Marquis de Sade
‘Women do not normally fuck in the active sense. They are fucked in the passive tense and hence automatically become fucked up, done over, undone. Whatever else he says or does not say, Sade declares himself unequivocally for the right of women to fuck [...] he urges women to fuck as actively as they are able, so that powered by their enormous and hitherto untapped sexual energy they will then be able to fuck their way into history and, in doing so, change it.’
Angela Carter,
The Sadeian Woman
, p. 27.
‘I felt both a strange, impersonal arousal at the thought of love and at the same time a repugnance I could not stifle for his white, heavy flesh’ (11)
‘I lay in bed alone. And I longed for him. And he disgusted me’ (19)
‘The girl burst out laughing. She knew she was nobody’s meat.’ (138)
‘See! sweet and sound she sleeps in granny’s bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.’ (139)
‘He lays upon me his irrevocable hand. His eyes are quite green, as if from too much looking at the wood. There are some eyes can eat you.’ (98)
'The Bloody Chamber':
'The Company of Wolves':
'The Erl-King':
‘The tiger will never lie down with lamb; he acknowledges no pact that is not reciprocal. The lamb must learn to run with the tigers.’ (71)
‘In “The Tiger’s Bride” Beauty won’t be fucked, as victim, by the Beast, as aggressor; nor will she, as aggressor, fuck the Beast, as victim. They will be fucking each other, equally, having disrupted the social conventions that prescribe fuck or be fucked as the only model of human relations. Running with the tigers means self-assertion, but not at the cost simply of devouring the other.’
Aidan Day, Angela Carter: The Rational Glass (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 147.
Folk versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” are less concerned with presenting lessons than with entertaining an audience by rehearsing a sequence of racy episodes and sensational events. Red Riding Hood begins by unwittingly eating the flesh and blood of her grandmother; she then performs a striptease for the wolf, gets into bed with him, and engages in a dialogue that leads up to a terrifying threat; in the end she escapes by pleading with the wolf for a chance to go outdoors and relieve herself.’
Maria Tatar,
Off With Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood
(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 37.
“But, if this young lady was not a good little girl and did not eat her boiled beetroot, then the tiger-man would put on his big black traveling cloak lined with fur, just like your daddy’s, and hire the Erl-King’s galloper of wind and ride through the night straight to the nursery and –
Yes, my beauty! GOBBLE YOU UP!
How I’d squeal in delighted terror, half believing her, half knowing that she teased me.’ (62)

'The Tiger's Bride'
'The ErlKing'
Sand animation by Benny Zelkowicz, Music by Franz Schubert.
‘The Erl King will do you grievous harm.’ (97)
‘I loved him with all my heart and yet I had no wish to join the whistling congregation he kept in cages’ (103)
‘He is the tender butcher who showed me how the price of flesh is love; skin the rabbit, he says! Off come all my clothes.” (100).
She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

‘Eat me, drink me; thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacity for drowning.’
‘it is the language which speaks, not the author’
Roland Barthes - 'The Death of the Author', 1967
'and what else was there to be done?' (47)
'The Courtship of Mr. Lyon'
'I’m in the demythologising business. I’m interested in myths…just because they are extraordinary lies designed to make people unfree'
Angela Carter, 'Notes from the Front Line',
On Gender and Writing
, p. 71.
Full transcript