Posts Tagged ‘The Bloody Chamber’


States of Mind I: The Farewells, Umberto Bocciano, 1911

There’s a very good chance that historians will remember 2016 as the year we tipped the flusher on the toilet, leading to a long spiral into oblivion. Between Brexit, the Great Celebrity Die-off and the recent American election we have plenty of reasons to cast worrying gazes at the future. I did not want to see the re-emergence of fascism in Europe, and now a party founded by Nazi sympathizers who looked with longing at the Vichy regime is considered a viable option to lead in France. Based on demographics, I can’t help but feel like the previous generation has decided to stomp on mine with a giant boot to the face one last time before letting go of the reins, but with the added sting that there might not be a planet to piece together again after this latest experiment in pursuing ideology over practical concerns.

Couple that with a quarter-life crisis and you have quite the anxious mix. (more…)

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This is going to be a looser post than I usually write on this blog, mostly because I’ve had a hard time concentrating on any one thing so far this year. Call it a combination of seasonal affective disorder and ennui. What I have been doing is watching a lot of animated films and, of course, reading, and I’ve been mixing the subject matter from both in my brain a lot lately.

These thoughts were precipitated by reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber for the first time, a very short collection of stories that since its publication in 1979 has gauged a deep and lasting mark in fantasy, particularly the glut of fairy tale retellings of the 90s that still haven’t quite withered away. Even I’m in an anthology of retellings, but Carter was also playing into a cultural moment that had its earlier rumblings in Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy stories” and other authors slowly dredging up folk and fairy tale material out of children’s books to repackage for an adult audience. We can’t pin the fairy tale resurgence in fantasy solely on people imitating Carter, though she certainly had and still has her share of slavish imitators who try to mimic her baroque, layered prose and fall flat on their faces doing it. The stories in The Bloody Chamber range further, giving characters and atmospheres that, despite all these stories taking place in a vague 18th to early 20th century setting, are most commonly found in urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The trappings pass on, the core of why these stories work largely remain untouched. (more…)

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