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The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  17,745 ratings  ·  1,380 reviews
From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

The Bloody Chamber --
The Courtship of Mr. Lyon --
The Tiger's Bride --
Puss-in-Boots --
The Erl-King --
The Snow Child --
The Lady of the House of Love --
The Werewolf
Paperback, 126 pages
Published October 29th 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

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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
Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Bill  Kerwin

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
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
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
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
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
Jul 01, 2009 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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

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
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.
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
The road to hell is paved with people who don't like this book. TOO MUCH REPETITION AND TOO MUCH "FEMINISM?" I chortle in your direction.

I am truly, honestly, sick of fairy-tale-redo's coming at me so hard they're lounging in my morning coffee. Thankfully, I consider "The Bloody Chamber" in a class of its own. In part because the writing is so wack, and also in part because it takes both sides of your brain to enjoy it. It's complex! It changes tenses and is filled with metaphors! Also, it gives
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 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
Heather *live on coffee and 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
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
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.

Sentimental Surrealist
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

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short story fiction that challenges the concept of the supernatural themes of fairytales as much as it challenges the ideologies and values of its era. And, for that matter, into the modern age. Angela Carter has a prose voice which is similar to that of modern authors such as Neil Gaiman or even perhaps Susanna Clarke and yet is remarkably her own. It is a voice which relies upon the sensual and superficial as much as it relies upon the transient and metaph
Jul 23, 2008 Martine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of gothic fiction
Wow. That was my response after reading just a few pages of The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter's amazing collection of re-imagined fairy tales. Carter has a way with words that pulls you right into her stories, seducing you, intoxicating you. And the stories themselves are pretty impressive, too. Carter has a superb imagination and ambition to match, leading her not just to modernising famous fairy tales, but to feminising them, eroticising them and giving them a dark and primordial slant. The re ...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
Nate D
Of course these are great, but I'll have to take the heretical position that Angela Carter modifying the classics can never compare to her being more fully in her own world. I'd even say that her own worlds digest the classics even that much more effectively than an outright retelling. Some of these, though stylistically and sensorially greatly enhanced still feel too impersonally archetypal, though as she makes them more her own they become all the more compelling, as in her deft modification o ...more
„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
Angela Carter pega em vários contos tradicionais e reescreve-os com sensualidade, crueldade e sempre sobre uma perspectiva feminista. Aqui as mulheres não são donzelas indefesas mas mulheres fortes, por vezes cruéis e que sabem o que querem.
São heroínas justiceiras que nunca se deixam vencer pelo medo...
São mulheres que, pela paixão e pelo prazer, aceitam a transformação de humano em animal...
São meninas que acordam o lobo mau...

Para ilustrar a beleza da escrita e a forma como a autora tratou e
Don't be heterosexual because you'll be killed and eaten by men. A timeless moral.
Shirley Marr
To be honest I am not enamoured at all by the title story, which is spoilt by a ridiculous ending. Okay, so maybe it's only Feminist-Fail in this day and age (as the definition of Feminism itself has evolved since the book was written), but a bad deus ex machina ending is inexcusable, written in 1979 or not. But... apart from the equally excruciating and out-of-flow Puss in Boots (perhaps "humour" dates faster than any other genre?) the rest of this collection of short stories - reworkings of fa ...more
Usually I really struggle when rating short story collections, because of course they'll be certain stories in the collection that you like more or less than others, perhaps with only one standout story, the rest being easily forgotten. However, in Angela Carter's collection of re-imagined fairy tales everything single story has something to offer and there is no doubt in my mind that this deserves 5 stars. Even though I obviously have my favourites, the quality is so high throughout and for me ...more
Nancy Oakes
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.
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
I'm not one for fairy tales, and there have been so many fairy tale re-tellings recently that I roll my eyes every time I see a new one reviewed. However, I'd heard a lot about Angela Carter, and read two of the stories in this collection before and enjoyed them, so decided to finally get around to picking up this collection. Also, because I'd been listening to 'Choker' by Honeyblood a lot and the song was based on The Bloody Chamber!

Angela Carter has a very verbose way of writing, but not in a
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Wolverine Farm Pu...: The Bloody Chamber 1 4 Oct 01, 2015 11:26AM  
Gothic Literature: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter 14 28 Aug 21, 2015 04:19AM  
Buddy Read: Jess, Heather, and Karly 102 11 Jul 20, 2015 08:47AM  
A Million More Pages: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories: May 3 28 22 May 31, 2015 09:43PM  
The Book Vipers: The Bloody Chamber - SPOILERS ALLOWED 15 72 Nov 09, 2013 01:51AM  
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales
From Wikipedia: 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
More about Angela Carter...
Nights at the Circus The Magic Toyshop Wise Children Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales The Passion of New Eve

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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.” 159 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.” 100 likes
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