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The Bloody Chamber

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  14,519 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews
'Magnificent set pieces of fastidious sensuality' - Ian McEwan

From the familiar material of fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

'The Bloody Chamber's interweaving of retold fairy tales demonstrates Angela Car
Paperback, Vintage Classic Twins: Vintage Fear, 176 pages
Published 2007 by Vintage Books (first published 1979)
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Magic America by C.E. MedfordIn the Night Garden by Catherynne M. ValenteMr. Fox by Helen OyeyemiThe Bloody Chamber by Angela CarterBaba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Mythpunk Books
4th out of 21 books — 18 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Favourite "homework" books
111th out of 168 books — 81 voters

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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

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
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.

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
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
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
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
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.
Don't be heterosexual because you'll be killed and eaten by men. A timeless moral.
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
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
This collection of fantastical and incredibly sensual short stories was my first encounter with the work and literary style of Angela Carter. Of the ten fairy tales and legends re-told tales within this volume I felt most captivated by 'The Erl-King', 'The Company of Wolves' and 'Wolf-Alice'; through these stories the author managed to sweep me into a state of awe with her stunning descriptions of nature and wildlife.

In 'The Company of Wolves' she writes with such lucidity that I ache for 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.
This might be one of the best collection of short stories I have ever read. There were many instances where I was left in a daze after finishing the story. "The Erlking" was so natural and musical in it's descriptions, it is one of the best pieces I have ever read. I recommend this book to any reader, it was brilliant and I would love to read more of her works.
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.
Nick Jirsa

There is fiction that exhausts its themes, exhausts its tropes, its conceits; this is not one of those works. In certain collections that thread thematic elements from one story to the next a reader can get wary that by the end the theme will no longer resonate, and instead will be dead, empty; this is not one of those works.

If this work could be called anything it'd be rejuvenating, revitalizing. I never found this collection tiresome, it was always dazzling and enchanting. The prose is immacu

Stephanie Sun
We are animals.

One need look no further than the front page of The New York Times for proof.

In this collection of adult fairy tales, Angela Carter writes with canny, baroque perversity: she reuses ideas only to subvert them again completely; she makes sure she's three steps ahead of us even as she takes her sweet time building a scene. Her beasts and increasingly beastly humans lick when we expect them to bite, bite when we expect them to kiss, and kiss when we expect them to destroy each other.
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The Book Vipers: The Bloody Chamber - SPOILERS ALLOWED 15 63 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 6 Dec 18, 2012 12:45PM  
Gothic Literature: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter 20 45 Nov 13, 2012 02:23PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Angolotesti: "La compagnia dei lupi" di Angela Carter 1 5 Oct 19, 2012 04:21AM  
Gothic fairy tales 6 113 Feb 17, 2012 08:14PM  
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
  • The Classic Fairy Tales
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins
  • Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales
  • Little Black Book of Stories
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • Seven Gothic 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 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.” 139 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.” 78 likes
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