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The Bloody Chamber (1979)

by Angela Carter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,6121301,823 (4.07)407
From familiar 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.
Recently added byMCBacon, Rennie80, private library, BananaSquirrel, jaspersbookshelf, VadersMorwen
  1. 40
    There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (alalba)
  2. 41
    The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman (kraaivrouw)
  3. 30
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
  4. 31
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (LizzieG)
    LizzieG: Dark reworkings of classic fairy tales
  5. 31
    Red as Blood; or, Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee (guyalice)
    guyalice: Both are very dark collections of fairy tale retellings from master storytellers.
  6. 20
    Needles & Bones by Various (MinaKelly)
    MinaKelly: Grown up fairy tales, with a literary bent and an undeniable intensity
  7. 00
    Black-Winged Angels by Angela Slatter (AngelaJMaher)
  8. 00
    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (mooingzelda)
    mooingzelda: Machado's stories also delve deeply into fairytale and myth, but put a very modern slant on these to examine what it is to be a woman and queer.
  9. 00
    Night's Master by Tanith Lee (andomck)
    andomck: Dark, gothic fantasies
  10. 00
    The Odditorium: Stories by Melissa Pritchard (hairball)
  11. 00
    The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington by Leonora Carrington (andomck)
    andomck: Angela Carter was influenced by Leonora Carrington
  12. 01
    Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women by Nancy Madore (MyriadBooks)
  13. 02
    The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Charles Perrault (edwinbcn)
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» See also 407 mentions

English (130)  Spanish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
Adult short stories; modern fairy tales. I wanted to like this but the amusing stories were destroyed by the author's frequent use of fancy and complicated language, as though trying to prove herself as an intelligent woman. The effect of these unwanted trills and supercilious ornaments is to disrupt what otherwise might be captivating, lyrical prose--having to stop and think every few minutes, "why the hell would she choose to express herself THAT way?" certainly makes it hard to focus on anything else--indeed, the critical reviews at the front of the book talk of little else, since there isn't really anything particularly praiseworthy to say about the collection. On the other hand, if you know a Literature major that is constantly annoying people with similar quirks of phrase, this would be something She would probably enjoy. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I first read The Bloody Chamber many years ago at university, and had forgotten just how good it is until I read it again this week. Carter did so much to pave the way for today's women authors who delight in subverting fairy and folk tales - you can definitely see her influence in authors like Carmen Maria Machado, for example.

I think the title story is my favourite, but I enjoyed the inventiveness of some of the later stories too. It's a really well put together collection; the stories take you on a journey from the inherent bestiality of human nature through to the outright uncanny incredibly smoothly. Highly recommended to anyone interested in fairy and folk tales as a genre. ( )
  mooingzelda | Mar 24, 2021 |
These were interesting and engaging retellings (reimaginings?) of classic fairy/folk tales. The narration was good and I quite liked the way it was split between 2 narrators so it was easy to follow where one story ended and the next began. I particularly liked the way they were set in the middle ground between Grimm's and Disney; they didn't have happy endings, per se, but they definitely didnt have sad endings either.

A very interesting collection, and well read by the narrators. (Listened to on Audible) ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
These were interesting and engaging retellings (reimaginings?) of classic fairy/folk tales. The narration was good and I quite liked the way it was split between 2 narrators so it was easy to follow where one story ended and the next began. I particularly liked the way they were set in the middle ground between Grimm's and Disney; they didn't have happy endings, per se, but they definitely didnt have sad endings either.

A very interesting collection, and well read by the narrators. (Listened to on Audible) ( )
  TCLinrow | Mar 17, 2021 |
What a strange little book… I can’t say that I fully enjoyed it, and yet I would say this volume of retold fairytales with a feminist slant is worth the read. Carter begins the collection with the titular “The Bloody Chamber”, a retelling of one of the most potentially violent fairytales--that of Bluebeard and his chamber of horrors. She tells the story from the perspective of the naive bride, who marries a man she knows almost nothing about and develops an insatiable curiosity to discover all of his secrets. The story obviously has undertones relating to the damage of secrets in relationships, and Carter doesn’t have to do much to expand on this theme except give her character an actual personality besides the trope role of “bride,” and yet the story is still very compelling as we must find out if this new bride will be able to escape the fate of the brides who came before her. The collection goes on to two retellings of the Beauty and the Beast myth, neither of which I was particularly fond of as they didn’t really seem to have much to add. I will admit that I completely skipped Puss-in-Boots. I’ve never been a fan of the miraculous cat stories, nor of the useless man who benefits from his pet’s skills. Her next tale, “The Erl-King”, was more along the lines of stories that I enjoy, but the story was so strange that I’m left not quite knowing what I read. The story is narrated by an anonymous companion to the Erl-King, and we are never quite sure if they are there by choice or by coercion. They treat the Erl-King as a tutor, and yet their language paints him as a captor of the woodland birds and as a less-than-kind personage. The King himself is not exactly human, and for those of us versed in faerielore his strange personality is what one would expect of a fey who crowns himself a King of this part of the forest--self-serving, self-interested, and yet kind when he chooses. We are then treated to a short, but strange Snow White tale next, one which I honestly don’t care all that much to recall, and then to an equally strange and not particularly successful vampire tale: “The Lady of the House of Love.” The collection wraps up with three tales which tread on the werewolf myths and intertwine them with the cautionary tale of Red Riding Hood. Of the three, I think that “Wolf-Alice” was possibly the most compelling, as it explores the concept of a child raised by wolves, the wildness of women (though this Alice is yet but a child), and the inability of the people of past ages to handle mental-illness and people who they deem as “other.” Overall, the collection was compelling, though I found it less magical than I expected. Possibly because it was too cruel at times, and a measure of softness does much to temper the violent tendencies of fairytales, but maybe that was kind of the point: lean in to the violence of the world, accept it for what it is, and work to ensure that these cruelties are not perpetuated--a cautionary tale, afterall. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carter, AngelaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Armitage, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bikadoroff, RoxannaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karash, IgorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lanati, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simpson, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, MarinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of my heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night, away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white, enclosed quietude of my mother's apartment, into the unguessable country of marriage.
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From familiar 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.

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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. -- from the back of the book. Contents:
  • 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
  • The Company of Wolves
  • Wolf-Alice
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