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The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  24,561 Ratings  ·  1,999 Reviews
Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of such contemporary masters of supernatural fiction as Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and Kelly Link, who introduces this edition of Carter's most celebrated book, published for the seventy-fifth anniversary of her birth. In The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1979)
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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 30, 2011 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

Angela Carter reveals the dark heart of the fairy story in these memorably quirky versions. She is able to intensify the mythic core of each of these tales, not by stripping them down to their essentials (the obvious way) but by using eccentric, illuminative detail expressed in individualistic prose.

Although these versions could be described as feminist and anti-patriarchal, such labels are too limiting for the fierce independence of Carter's intelligence. She is a writer who never shrinks from
Nov 09, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Hey there Little Red Riding Hood,
You sure are looking good.
You’re everything a big bad wolf could want.
Listen to me…
I don’t think little big girls should
Go walking in these spooky old woods alone.
—Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1962

In The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter’s uses a decidedly feminist slant to re-tell familiar myths and stories. “The Company of Wolves,” for example, provides a point-by-point rebuttal of the myths embedded in the more modern versions of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Inter
Helen Stavraki
Τα πιο γνωστά μας παραμύθια,οι μύθοι που έχουν ταξιδέψει απο γενιά σε γενιά, οι θρύλοι και οι λαϊκές παραδόσεις ζωντανεύουν μέσα σε αυτό το βιβλίο με τη μορφή παρωδίας και σεξιστικής λαϊκής κουλτούρας.

Όλες οι ιστορίες των παιδικών μας χρόνων -σωστά ισχυρίζεται η συγγραφέας - εκφράζουν τις εκάστοτε κοινωνικές δομές και τις διαπροσωπικές σχέσεις με πρότυπο πάντα το κλισέ θύτης- θύμα.

Και είναι όλα καλά και όμορφα όταν τα παραμύθια ζωντανεύουν, οι μάγισσες καίγονται,οι βάτραχοι με τη δύναμη του φι
Bookdragon Sean
Angela Carter knows how to write a fucking good short story.

She takes the basic narrative of fairy tales, the plot and the general direction, and then twists them with blood and clarity. She’s a great story-teller. She transports the stories to the concepts of a modern society and considers real issues such as the representation of women, the limitations of gender and the restrictions of stories themselves.

Her prose is captivating. As soon as I began reading the first story in here, I was hoo
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Nov 12, 2014 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
What an excellent bundle of stories bringing it all back home, fairytales-and-folklore-wise, stripped of their deceptive pop-culture whitewash, all blood-splattered and primal and sensual and lady-teachy. I don't know which rose pricked me deeper; the blood countess stricken with sudden, self-sacrificial hideousness in the eternal sleep of light-of-day at finding a pure, deserving specimen of love, "dropped off to sleep over the cards of destiny that are so fingered, so soiled, so worn by consta ...more

I had high expectations for this, Carter's fairy tale retellings are meant to be well known for being feminist, gothic, and original. For the most part, I didn't feel that was true. Having a few heroines with sexual agency didn't magically make them feminist or ground breaking, it takes a lot more than that to modernise a fairy tale. There were only a couple of them that I actually found somewhat enjoyable, the rest were rubbish.

Hated the writing, it was convoluted, complicated, and nons
An extraordinarily sensual, symbol-rich, collection of very adult tales of enchantment, focusing on female protagonists. Some are dirtier versions of the familiar, some are barely recognisable beyond title and names, and a couple were unknown to me. The Lyon and Tiger stories are variants of each other, and it ends with three relating to wolves, two of which are versions of Little Red Riding Hood.

There is blood in the title, and there are many allusions to literal and metaphorical blood (mainly
There's the indulgence of the mind, and there's the pleasure of the senses. One can fill oneself up on the former to the brim, hold firmly to one's breast its lack of ignorance, its sophisticated patterns of thought, its know-how translating into a delightful net of endless know-whens and know-whats and whatever know-wherefore's your precious neurons may desire. There's a unique satisfaction to be had in those sorts of theoretical acrobatics, that complex weave of states of mind that are fully a ...more
Oct 24, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

Bloody fantastic pick for a Halloween read!

It's not like we celebrate Halloween in my part of the world, but I am content to make it a custom every year to read something outside of my usual haunts. October is as good a pretext as any when it comes to horror, the younger sibling of fantasy and science-fiction in speculative fiction, at least for me. Angela Carter can be relied upon to transform scary entertainment into an art form, to twist a familiar fairytale into something more substantial, m
Jul 23, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults, women comfortable with their sexuality
"The Marquis stood transfixed, utterly dazed, at a loss. It must have been as if he had been watching his beloved Tristan for the twelfth, thirteenth time and Tristan stirred, then leapt from his bier in the last act, announce in a januty aria interposed from Verdi that bygones were bygones, crying over spilt milk did nobody any good and, as for himself, he proposed to live happily ever after. The puppet master, open mouthed, wide eyed, impotent at the last, saw his dolls break free of their str ...more
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Category: A book of short stories.

The Bloody Chamber
3.5 Stars

I am by no means familiar with the story of Bluebeard, so I have no idea how far Carter may have deviated from the traditional story with this short story retelling HOWEVER I found myself getting lost in her lush, descriptive prose within this one. Her language choices may, overall, become a downfall but for this story it was both fitting and quotable. I do wish I had gotten a bit more of a story here, I would love to have read more ab
3.5/5 stars! Dark, sensual and definitely adult fairytale retellings. Some stories were a bit to cryptic and symbolic for my liking, but there were also some real gems in this collection. My favourite short stories were 'The Bloody Chamber', 'The Erl-King' and 'The Werewolf'. (view spoiler)
After the rigorous pounding that I got while reading The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman, I certainly wasn't expecting this almost diffident collection of short stories.

Reading the whole collection the sense of Carter's craft is very strong - emphasised by having stories like The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger's Bride which are variants of the same folktale, or the repetition of the same elements - such as the magical power of virginity in The Lady of the House of Love and The Company
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

Read a book of short stories.

Well, I'm in a bit of a fairy-tale re-
imagining place lately....this one is getting bumped up on the pile.

Buddy read with two of my favorite ladies, Heather and Karly for July 1.

So when I totalled up all my stars for each story and divided them by the number of stories, this book fell onto 2.7 stars. I guess I will round this bitch up star-wise, but it's still only a 2.5 star read for me. What a disappointment. I'm never comp
Jan 05, 2015 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
The wolfsong is the sound of the rending you will suffer, in itself a murdering.

As a rule I don't care for folklore. I also maintain a historical aversion to short stories. What a joy it is then to proclaim my love for these macabre tales of hymens, fogged mirrors, and the gasps of lusts and bloodletting. Ms. Carter's tales are fevered variations on nursery rhymes: Bluebeard, Red Riding Hood Lycanthropes and wee wicked Alice dart from the shadows and dazzle the reader.
Dec 04, 2011 Eh?Eh! rated it really liked it
Angela Carter wrote stories in a lope and growl that tugs my senses with familiarity, and the edition I read had the small, almost-blurry font that reminded me of the old fairy-tale books I used to check out over and over again as a child. But these aren't the fairy tales I remember. All the coded sexuality and perversities are less shaded, filling a void I hadn't realized was present (twss).

This depressed me, too. I'd popped in the BBC's Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart (thanks, Bi
I was expecting to be made very uncomfortable by Carter's best known work, but FAR from being a pornographic wallowing in sex and violence, I found the book to be a feast for my creative understanding. Gender and power relationships & structures, fantasy and folklore are explored from a critical feminist perspective in a series of tales that excavate, question and challenge the 'latent content' of traditional fairy tales, often by shifting and switching gender and power roles.

Some of these s
Dec 22, 2010 Katya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read the reviews of this book, I came to the following conclusion - in popular YA books, girls aren't going after Prince Charming, but Bluebeard, and there was no better example for this than "The Bloody Chamber", the first story in this anthology.

Think about it - a man, with several complexes, probably impotent or in possession of some weird blood fetish, purposedly chooses a wife that is both curious and insecure. He presents her with a key, telling her not to go into the room, fully know
I can still remember when I got this book. It was a Christmas present. I asked for it because Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow had mentioned it. I can't remember if it was in one of Year's Best series, which I proudly own every copy of, or one of their fairy tale books. I remember unwrapping the book, and my mother asking if I was sure I wanted it because it was in the "woman's section" of the bookstore. I didn't, and still don't, understand why that would be a bad thing. I read it that night.

It is a northern country; they have cold weather, they have cold hearts.

Cold; tempest; wild beasts in the forest. It is a hard life.

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of fairytale retellings that somehow manages to capture the strange wonder that fairytales held for me as a child while imbuing them with a darker sensuality.

The writing is incredibly beautiful. I can't even describe it, you just have to read it:

You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are. Step between the portals
Feb 29, 2016 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book just didn't do it for me and I can say with 100% certainty that I did not like it because of Angela Carter's writing style. I love fairytale retellings but the writing made this book hard to enjoy. The stories themselves weren't actually that bad and I can see why people would like this book but I couldn't like them or get fully into them because of the writing.

The writing was insufferable. Carter writes insanely long sentences with tonnes of punctuation and it is the stuff of nightma
Sentimental Surrealist
Jul 14, 2014 Sentimental Surrealist rated it really liked it
On account of this book's reputation for containing "fairy tales for adults," a reputation that Carter herself hated, I avoided this book for a while. I should've known there was more to it than that, seeing as it was recommended to me by a well-read creative writing professor and not a Hot Topic teenager, but "fairy tales for adults" just conjures bad images into my mind. Some grotesque Tim Burton-meets-Todd MacFarlane-type abomination, the usual "Jack HAS SEX WITH THE GIANT'S WIFE and when thi ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Angela Carter would have made my first sentence and exquisite masterpiece.

She writes things like " The lucidity,the clarity of the light that afternoon was sufficient to itself; " or this "For now my own skin was my sole capitol in the world and today I'd make my first investment.", and then this ""Step between the portals of the great pines where shaggy branches tangle about you,trapping the unwary traveler in nets as if the ve
Heather *live on coffee & flowers*
Buddy read with my amazing ladies Jess and Karly starting June 1st July 1st!


The first time I read this, I didn't like it as much as I had hoped. But I thought it was just me, unable to appreciate subtlety or symbolism or something. I picked out "The Erl-King" as my favorite story, mainly because I thought I should like at least one of them.

Now I've read it a second time, and I still didn't like it much. Three things piss me off about Carter's writing:

1) her tendency to stick semi-colons in
June 2015
Personal history attaches an unusual ick-factor to Angela Carter's writing, especially when certain topics come up, so it was a bit of a dare to myself to read this before getting rid of it. (Actually unnecessary as the tales are also in Burning Your Boats: Collected Stories.) Besides, The Company of Wolves had intrigued me as a film poster since before I ever saw the author's name, and it seemed ridiculous not to have read that after so long.

With short stories and essay collections, di
This is why I love reading many books at the same time. I have just finished "The Erkling" from Ms. Carter. She mentions that the creature "makes salads of the dandelions that he calls rude names, 'bum pipes' or 'piss the beds,' and flavors them with a few leaves of the wild strawberry, but he will not touch the brambles; he says the Devil spits on them at Michaelmas."

I would have totally missed this, but thanks to reading Pinker's language book in tandem, I understand: "'The days when the dande
Nancy Oakes
Jan 08, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird
The second time through this book -- with eyes more widely open this time around. More to say coming soon, but I loved it the first time and this time it's even better.
„To be the object of desire is to be defined in the passive case. To exist in the passive case is to die in the passive case - that is, to be killed. This is the moral of the fairy tale about the perfect woman.” – „The Sadeian Woman”, Angela Carter

Всяка от историите в „Кървавата стая” е заслужила собствено изследване и го получава в стотици страници литературна критика, която вероятно никога няма да достигне до нас. Понеже не мога да съм изчерпателна, ще се постарая да съм кратка, защото няма ко
Jan 04, 2017 A.J. rated it it was amazing
So, this is THE feminist reversioning/retelling of various fairytales. Even though it was published back in 1979, it still stands the test of time. The first and longest story in the collection is 'The Bloody Chamber', a version of Blackbeard set in turn-of-the-century Russia. Ms Carter's writing style is rich, evocative and surprising. No noun is used without being preceded by at least one adjective of unexpected strange connotation/collocation. The result is that after just one paragraph, the ...more
The short stories in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber are all based on fairy-tales, all more or less familiar -- although I couldn't call one of them to mind until I looked it up. She modernised them in places, tugged them and twisted them a bit, but they're still basically recognisable. Some of them she had more than one go at -- Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood.

The writing is amazing, rich and intricate. Sometimes a little too much so, I think, like the beginning of The Erl-King
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  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • In the Cities of Coin and Spice (The Orphan's Tales, #2)
  • Stranger Things Happen
  • The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.

She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. Th
More about Angela Carter...

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“She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening.” 231 likes
“When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me, my pale face, the way the muscles in my neck stuck out like thin wire. I saw how much that cruel necklace became me. And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away.” 125 likes
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