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'...moreI 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.
I loved the book so much that I read Carter's other works, that when Burning Your Boats The Collected Short Stories came out in hardcover, I brought it. I ordered the collection of her screenplays from Amazon's UK website because you couldn't find them here in the U.S. It made me into a Carter lover.
For me, this will always be the best Carter. The Bloody Chamber has Carter lush and rich language. My favorite story of the collection is, in fact, the title story. The imagery and description in "The Bloody Chamber" are mind blowing. Carter's version is my favorite version of "Bluebeard". Her ending is embedded in my brain. I can see it.
The collection includes several variations of "Beauty and the Beast' that address the idea of the animalistic. A question of what exactly a Beast is. If you thought Beast in the Disney movie was more attractive before he became the Prince, you will like these versions.
"The Company of Wolves" is perhaps the best known story in the collection. I've taught this story and tend it use it every semester. It is closer to being a folk tale and closer to the older Red Riding Hood than it's sister tale of "Wolf-Alice".
All in all, the tales presented here are wonderfully dark, inviting, and invigorating.(less)
A feminist look at fairy tales including short stories. This book is split into three sections - tales for younger readers, tales for older readers, a...moreA feminist look at fairy tales including short stories. This book is split into three sections - tales for younger readers, tales for older readers, and criticism. The works have appeared in various sources elsewhere.
Included in this collection are feminist working of Beaty and the Beast, a discussion about "Snow White", an examination of the illustrations for "Little Read Riding Hood", a prince's quest to marry a spoiled princess, as well as a princess saving a prince.
The stories and poems are wonderful, though I have to wonder, why do feminist fairy tales end in marriage, even if it marriage to a partner who proves his worth? Is it because of social conditioning or because we long for a partnership of equals?
Twice Upon a Time takes a look at the women writers of fairy tales. The book focuses mostly on the French women writers from the salons and 20th write...moreTwice Upon a Time takes a look at the women writers of fairy tales. The book focuses mostly on the French women writers from the salons and 20th writers such as Sexton and Carter. Harries doesn't not give biographies of the writers; she is looking more at how the women write fairy tales, and, at least with French salon writers, why thier tales have never been as well known or as popular as male writers.(less)
Magic and reading have something in common. It’s that thin wedge that question of what is real and what is fantasy. We know that the magician is doing...moreMagic and reading have something in common. It’s that thin wedge that question of what is real and what is fantasy. We know that the magician is doing some trick, but we just can’t get it, can’t figure it out. With books, good ones at least, the trick is the writing taking you someplace else. Books aren’t the only thing that can do this – a good movie, painting, music. It’s this line between reality and fantasy that Carter explores in this novel about a circus performer who may actually have real wings. At first glance it seems as if Fevvers is the only character with this problem, but every character in the book comes into contact with this question. Even the tigers, which may or may not really be jealous lovers. In many ways, this is the human condition, the search for ourselves. Is our work face our real face? It might not be the wings that Fevvers has, but the question of reality and fantasy is one we change and fight in some way every day. (less)
While I love Chamber in particular the title story, I now think that my favorite Carter work is this book.
What really makes this book is the narrator Dora Chance. A crusty, at times foul mouthed, old dame, she is one of those characters who could quite easily step off the page. (And why this book hasn't been made into a movie, I don't know. Dame Judi Dench could be the twins in their later in life years). It truly does feel that Dora is right next to you, in one of those smoky English pubs that no longer really exists because of the smoking ban, have a gin with you, telling you the whole sordid, messy, humorous story.
Dora and her twin sister, Nora, are the illegitimate daughter of an acting scion. They are never, truly acknowledged by their father, but by their uncle Perry and, strangely, their father's wife, 'Wheelchair' aka Lady A. What Dora unfolds for the reader is the family story, worthy of any soapy soap opera. She does so in a unapolgetic, unrepenent tone. This was the way it was, if you don't like it; hoof it style of speaking.
It has wonderful lines like, "Saskia . . . unique amongst mammals, a cold-blooded cow" or "Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people". And I now do wonder about Mrs. Lear.
There is much of Ellen Terry and her crowd in the characters, much of the bardioloatry that took hold of the world. Carter mocks all of this, gently.
Carter's essay are entertaining and thought provoking. Also, very often funny. In this collection, there are book reviews, travelogues, and political...moreCarter's essay are entertaining and thought provoking. Also, very often funny. In this collection, there are book reviews, travelogues, and political commentary. My favorite essay is the comparison/contrast essay about Paddington and Winne the Pooh.(less)
A really good collection of fairy and folktales. While there are some better known tales in the collection, such as "East o' the Sun and West o' the M...moreA really good collection of fairy and folktales. While there are some better known tales in the collection, such as "East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon", many of the tales are not as well known. The stories come from all over the globe. While tale types are used, the most familiar tales of those types are not used. Instead of "Cinderella", there is "Mossycoat", for instance. There is a note section at the end of the book that covers sources. I really enjoyed "The Princess in the Suit of Leather" and "The Girl Who Stayed in the Fork of a Tree".
There really is something complete uninhibited about these Inuit, stories that open this collection. You read them, and you can see why some parents just might have their panties in bunch. “Blubber Boy” for instance, is a rather candid, but still powerfully moving tale about love and loss. There is such tragedy and sadness in it. Even as you are going, boy is that disgusting. I enjoyed the Iraqi version of “Cinderella”. Several of the tales are quite funny and the complete Red Riding Hood is here. (less)
This edition includes a good introduction by Jack Zipes that looks at how Carter's translation influences her and how she changes the morals at the en...moreThis edition includes a good introduction by Jack Zipes that looks at how Carter's translation influences her and how she changes the morals at the end of the stories. If you loved Carters The Bloody Chamber then you have to read this to see how she was influenced by Perrault. (less)
This collection of Carter's dramatic works includes a radio play version of both her "The Company of Wolves" and "Puss in Boots". It also includes the...moreThis collection of Carter's dramatic works includes a radio play version of both her "The Company of Wolves" and "Puss in Boots". It also includes the screenplay for "The Company of Wolves" as well for her novel The Magic Toyshop. She also did a screenplay called "The Christchurch Murders" based on a murder in New Zealand, the same murder that Jackson centered his Heavenly Creatures on.
The works are good and showcase Carter's style. It is interesting to see the changes made from short story or novel to screen or radio play. All the works are entertaining to read.
The Vintage edition inclues notes at the end with perfomance history of each play.(less)
I read the first half of this book prior to buying this edition. This is actually Volumne 1 and Volumne 2 of Carter's Virago Fairy Tales.
What makes th...moreI read the first half of this book prior to buying this edition. This is actually Volumne 1 and Volumne 2 of Carter's Virago Fairy Tales.
What makes the collection good is that the fairy tales, or folk tales, range widely. Carter does have some well known tales here, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" but she collections lesser well known ones, including a heavy does of tales from non-European countries.
While I am not sure if I would use the word feminist to describe the collection, the tales are mostly woman centered, with women as heroines or as a major role. The collection is divided into chapters based on the plot or point of the tales. Sections include "Mothers and Daughters", "Witches", "Married Women" and "Useful Stories". A good portion of the stories are strongly sexual in nature. A fair amount of the stories are also funny.
Stand out stories in the collection include the following:
"Princess in a Suit of Leather" an egyptian Cinderella tale.
"The Enchanter and Enchantress" - a story that makes an interesting comment about marriage. Really a rather nice tale.
"Reason to Beat Your Wife" - despite the title, a story that most women should enjoy.
"Father and Mother Both Fast" - pretty much what the title says.
"Blubber Boy" a rather sad story about how not to deal with loss.
"Kate Crackernuts" a story that has one sister helping the other.
"Little Red Riding Hood" has to be one of the most famous fairy tales in existence. Everyone seems to know, though very few people seem to know what i...more"Little Red Riding Hood" has to be one of the most famous fairy tales in existence. Everyone seems to know, though very few people seem to know what it is really about.
It's about sex.
In this book, Jack Zipes examines the history of tale, showing how it progessed from a story about a smart girl to a story about a foolish girl who may have had it coming. Additionally, Zipes has collected several different versions of the tale, the earlies one from 1697 and the latest being from 1990.
Zipes has two essays in this book. The first examines the literary history of the tales, tracing the changes made to it and putting forth theories why those changes were made. He agrues that the tale moved from one of ritual to one about rape. He shows what that says about our culture, noting when the blame for the "rape" shifts to the victim. His second essay concerns how LRH is shown in the illustrations of the books. He does a good job of making the reader think twice about many of the illustrations. (This essay appeared in Don't Bet on the Prince Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England).
It really is all about sex. I already knew that and still some of those illustrations. Hmmm. Strange how most of them were by men.
The stories collected in the volumne are perhaps worth more than the essays. While both Perrault and the Grimms have appearances, Zipes includes lesser well known versions. Two stories were particularly haunting. "Little Red Riding Hood as a Dictator Would Tell It" by H. I. Phllips was published in 1940 and is a rather amusing farce as the title indicates. More emotional was "Little Red Cap" by Max von der Grun. The story was published in 1974 and is really about the Holocaust. It is very touching.
Zipes also includes more adult versions, such as the stories by Tanith Lee and Angela Carter. There is a strange Silicon Valley Red Riding Hood, entitled, "Roja and Leopold". There is a very funny "Little Aqua Riding Hood" which is also very funny. Several of the stories show LRH as more active, in particular the version by the Merseyside Fairy Story Collective. This version has a knife.
No, Dahl's version isn't here, but Thurber's is.
It is interesting to read them in publication order. Zipes does a good job showing how it swings from pre-feminist to post feminist readings. The tales, however, never, ever lose the sexual overtone. What does that say about us? What does it say about us that the story is still told to children? What does it say when that version is usually the one that involes the resuce by the Hunter? While Zipes does not fully answer these questions, he does dwell on them.(less)
I have to agree with S. Sims review of the book. It does help if you are familiar with Propp, Zipes, and Arne as well as the works under discussion. I...moreI have to agree with S. Sims review of the book. It does help if you are familiar with Propp, Zipes, and Arne as well as the works under discussion. It is not an introductory text. It is for people who have a good background in fairy tale criticism and are not just approaching the field.
That said, it does present some very good analysis of both Byatt and Carter, focusing solely on the both author's fairy tales. Those sections of the book were very engaging and are worth a read for another who is a fan of either woman.
I was somewhat less impressed with her reading of popular fiction and the use of the fairy tale. While I think it would be fair to acknowledge that much popular fantasy is slushy (or to use Tiffin's phrase in the ghetto), certain authors are not, and the field itself can be considered literature. In fact, Byatt and Carter can be said to write fantasy. And if we are using the term popular, Lee and Tepper are not as popular as other authors who make the best seller list. Her analysis on Lee, Tepper, and Pratchett is good; it is her approach to the fantasy as a whole that is a little off putting. Additionally, while she lists the fairy tale series by Datlow/Windling, she neglects to mention The Nightingale which is one of the best novels in the series.
Worth reading, however, for the analysis of Byatt and Carter alone.(less)
Recently there were some really wonderful reviews written as Literary Celebrity Deathmatches. They are really quite funny, extremely creative, and sho...moreRecently there were some really wonderful reviews written as Literary Celebrity Deathmatches. They are really quite funny, extremely creative, and showcase the vast knowledge and talent that the readers who use this site have.
I have to say, however, they have nothing on Peter Ackroyd.
Take for instance:
On Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - "I have sat and slept though this novel for five days and words would fail me if logorhoea were not so catching." and "It [Rocket] may have been of such heavy symbolic intent that it went under my head"
On The Decay of the Angel - "This is not writing, this is Barbara Cartland - and Barbara Cartland at least has the courage not to commit hara-kiri over it"
On Ted Hughes - Every time I open Ted Hughes's latest book, there is something about testicles, bone tissue or vomit. It's like watching General Hospital . . . "
Or "Apcolypse Now, in other words, would have been more entertaining as a silent film"
Or, on Faye Dunaway (whom he likes) in Mommie Dearest - "She is Lady Macbeth who cannot find a missing button, Clylemmenstra who has mislaid her bus past",
On Shelley Duvall in The Shining (he likes the actress and the movie - . . . she looks like Bugs Bunny carved out margarine"
On Octopussy - "Roger Moore has grown old in our service (perhaps the film should have been called the Octogenarian"
On Robert Frost"A man who paosed as an American sage while possessing the familial virtures of Caliguila"
Not that Ackroyd is all negative. When he loves, he loves. His review of Victim of the Aurora made me want to pick up that book then and there. His comments on both The Shinning and The Company of Wolves are not only thought provoking and right, but those "yes, that's it" type. Ackroyd is at his best, though, when writing about London, and there are a few beautiful essays about the city in this collection as well as thoughts on some of Ackroyd's own books.
For the American reader, the weakest part has to be the section of television reviews, simply because those shows, with the exception of Eastenders were not shown, at least widely if at all, on American telelvision. Though his comment on a show about homosexual and the sing Tom Robinson - "who has 'come out' so many times on television that he might pull off a major feat of public relations by going back inside again" - were not only funny but raised legitmate points about the media and causes.(less)
A rather beautiful book. One I enjoyed very much. Despite it's short length, Clapp does an excellent of job of conveaying a sense of who Carter was, e...moreA rather beautiful book. One I enjoyed very much. Despite it's short length, Clapp does an excellent of job of conveaying a sense of who Carter was, even for those of us who discovered her after her death (or in my case, the year of her death). This is a wonderful memory book (much like Terry Pratchett's The Unadulterated Cat) and that is what makes it so special. Well worth the price. I'm really glad I read this.(less)
This is a rather nice collection of criticism based on retellings of fairy tales. I found the essay on McKinley as well as the one on the Fables comic...moreThis is a rather nice collection of criticism based on retellings of fairy tales. I found the essay on McKinley as well as the one on the Fables comice books to be the two most interesting. But the essays are very good and even when about works you haven't read, they make you want to read them.
I picked this up sooner than I was planning because of an interview Rushdie did with local radio host Mary Moss- Coane and the...moreFull review at Booklikes
I picked this up sooner than I was planning because of an interview Rushdie did with local radio host Mary Moss- Coane and the section he read about talking his son to carnival. Very funny. This memoir is in some ways two books. The first half of the book is great, the second half feels somewhat like an appointment diary fleshed out. It’s possible that the latter half of the experience is still to raw or that the death of his first wife is too raw. Rushdie is honest, and in this regard reminds me of Neil Simon’s Memoirs. In part, the selling point is the dish on other authors and how they respond to Rushdie’s predicament. Angela Carter and A. S. Byatt fans will enjoy the brief cameos the ladies make. It is a reminder of how small the literary establishment at the time. (less)