The Bloody Chamber
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The Bloody Chamber

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  13,039 ratings  ·  1,014 reviews
An absorbing collection of dark, sensual, and fantastic stories inspired by the fairy tales and legends of Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves, and more.
Hardcover, 164 pages
Published February 1st 1980 by Harper & Row (NY) (first published 1979)
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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...more
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...more
Jul 01, 2009 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Jul 23, 2008 Martine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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 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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.

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
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...more
Randolph Carter
Wicked twisted fairy tales for adults only. Some of these will be familiar, however I'm not sure if all these are derived from real folk and fairy tales, but it doesn't matter because it seems like they are. Carter releases these type of stories from the often simpering but always patriarchal prison they have been kept in for so long.

These are tales to be told, read out loud. We know that the oral tradition of storytelling probably followed a matriarchal path. But when folk stories finally got...more
So many books have quotes on their back covers saying that the writer uses bold language and makes the story come alive. While usually I agree with the latter, I usually never really agree with the former. I never really think about the former much, nothing ever really stands out to me. And then I read this book. Even in the first paragraph on the first page my mind said, "Egad! These words! In this combination! Oh the imagery!" The voice of the writing I found to be similar to Anais Nin and yet...more
The Bloody Chamber is a feast for the mind. While I didn't enjoy every story equally, each one brought something thoughtful and engaging to the original mixture. This was especially true for: The Bloody Chamber, The Tiger's Bride, The Snow Child and The Company of Wolves.

The Bloody Chamber, a re-imagining of Bluebeard just oozed de Sade's ideas of sexuality, pleasure and pain. The mixture of erotic imagery and tools of torture is just so well-weaved that you can't help but be drawn in while bein...more
I didn't actually know what I was letting myself in for when I picked up this book. It's a collection of stories inspired by fairy tales and old legends. Stories that explore the darker side of the female psyche and sexuality. Thematically, while interesting, not really what I'm looking for but all wrapped up in a luscious, evocative prose with startling imagery that makes them a pleasure to read. Carter is obviously a very talented writer.
Scribble Orca
Apr 20, 2013 Scribble Orca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scribble by: Katya
I did say there was a review to follow - and here it is:

Even if you never read the book - read that review!


Review to follow....just trying to rope in the wild horses of my brain.
Don't be heterosexual because you'll be killed and eaten by men. A timeless moral.
I couldn't get into the stories in this collection with the exception of "Puss-in-Boots," which rates 3+ stars.

Reading the others felt too much like work, unfortunately.
Los relatos que conforman ‘La cámara sangrienta y otros cuentos’, de la británica Angela Carter, pueden encuadrarse dentro del gótico moderno. Se trata de reescrituras de cuentos de hadas tradicionales, con un contenido sexual, social y cultural directamente relacionado con la mujer. Se puede decir que es literatura feminista sin llegar a ser extremista. La prosa de Carter es densa, barroca y cargada de simbolismo, desconcertante en algunas descripciones.

Estos son los diez relatos incluidos en l...more
Angela Carter's masterpiece of a short story collection veers far too far into territory with which I'm unfamiliar for me to dare comment very deeply, but it's enough to say that I enjoyed reading this as much as I've eve enjoyed reading short stories.

If you've got as far as looking at this book/review then you probably already know that Angela Carter's work is a work of revisionary feminism that resets fairy tale and folklore in a dark, gothic, often sadistic but profoundly sexually liberating...more

Fairy tales tend to draw on a small collection of basic themes. These themes include family relationships, succeeding materially, and finding a mate; Carter confirm, fairy tales are also embedded with sexual anxieties. Fairy tales tend to revolve around the protagonist's adventure, "quest," or problem at home. In the course of his or her story, the protagonist must conquer or escape evil, usually with the help of magic, in order to "live happily ever after." In its basic structure, the fairy tal...more
It really irks me that anybody would be reading 50 Shades of Grey and completely wasting their time on such bad writing, when they could be reading Angela Carter, get just as much filthy kink but with a side of juicy delicious diction! So full of interesting subjects, makes one wish books came with hyperlinks, but whatevs, we got BookDrum!

Quotable like mad, but I like this one:

"To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, si...more
Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter
I came across this exploring for the Grimm's Fairy Tale read for my book club. These stories are all influenced from fairy tales, all beautifully crafted, stuff that can sweep you away -- gothic and haunting. The stories often take surprising and inspired turns. Here's a snippet for instance, only a taste to show flavor but chosen to not give anything away:

Outside her kitchen window, the hedgerow glistened as if the snow possessed a light of its own; when the sky da...more
John David
I usually don’t prefer the short story as a literary form, but I was in the mood for something whimsical and mercurial, so I thought these self-described fairy tales would do the trick. And they did. “The Bloody Chamber” is a collection of ten stories, all based around the fairy tales that we read (or should have read) as a child, including Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, Puss-in-Boots, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood. Most of them are very short, while one (the eponymous story) is about...more
I've recently been rereading Robert Graves' The Greek Myths, and for the first time, Maria Tatar on fairy tales and Carolyn Pinkola-Estes' Women who Run with the Wolves. Graves' and Tatar's are academic works, of course, and Estes is a Jungian analyst proselytising hard. But they all reminded me of the power of myths and fairy tales and I knew I wanted to read some fiction by an authentic writer. Enter the sublime Angela Carter.

Her stories are textually and subliminally rich, and evocative enoug...more
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The Book Vipers: The Bloody Chamber - SPOILERS ALLOWED 15 59 Nov 09, 2013 01:51AM  
The Book Vipers: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter - NO SPOILERS 8 51 Oct 11, 2013 10:25AM  
Fiction Fanatics: May 2013 - The Bloody Chamber 10 29 May 19, 2013 07:10AM  
UW-Parkside Library: The Bloody Chamber 1 5 Dec 18, 2012 12:45PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Angolotesti: "La compagnia dei lupi" di Angela Carter 1 4 Oct 19, 2012 04:21AM  
Gothic fairy tales 6 106 Feb 17, 2012 08:14PM  
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
  • Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby
  • Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • Fitcher's Brides
  • The Girl With No Hands (and other tales)
  • The World's Wife
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
More about Angela Carter...
Nights at the Circus The Magic Toyshop Wise Children Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories

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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.” 116 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.” 68 likes
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