The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber
75th Anniversary Edition

 

Blood-Chamber

For the 75th anniversary of her birth, a Deluxe Edition of the master of the literary supernatural’s most celebrated book—featuring a new introduction by Kelly Link

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, Kelly Link, and other contemporary masters of supernatural fiction.

In her masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves—she spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.

“A wonderfully written book, ironical, cerebral, elegant . . . distinguished by bold, inflected language and ornate, indeed often bloody, imagery.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

“The tales are retold by Angela Carter with all her supple and intoxicating bravura.” —The New York Review of Books

“She was, among other things, a quirky, original, and baroque stylist, a trait especially marked in The Bloody Chamber—her vocabulary a mix of finely tuned phrase, luscious adjective, witty aphorism, and hearty, up-theirs vulgarity.” —Margaret Atwood, The Observer

“She writes a prose that lends itself to magnificent set pieces of fastidious sensuality . . . dreams, myths, fairy tales, metamorphoses, the unruly unconscious, epic journeys, and a highly sensual celebration of sexuality in both its most joyous and darkest manifestations.” —Ian McEwan

 

Wise Children

book cover for the US 2007 edition of Wise ChildrenIn their heyday on the vaudeville stages of  the early twentieth century, Dora Chance and her twin sister, Nora–unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day–were known as the Lucky Chances, with private lives as colorful and erratic as their careers. But now, at age 75, Dora is typing up their life story, and it is a tale indeed that Angela Carter tells. A writer known for the richness of her imagination and wit as well as her feminist insights into matters large and small, she created in Wise Children an effervescent family saga that manages to celebrate the lore and magic of show business while also exploring the connections between parent and child, the transitory and the immortal, authenticity and falsehood.

1991

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman

infernalThe transformation of Desiderio’s city into a mysterious kingdom is instantaneous: Hallucination flows with magical speed in every brain; avenues and plazas are suddenly as fertile as fairy-book forests. And the evil comes, too, as imaginary massacres fill the streets with blood, the dead return to question the living, and profound anxiety drives hundreds to suicide.

Behind it all stands Doctor Hoffman, whose gigantic generators crack the immutable surfaces of time and space and plunge civilization into a world without the chains – or structures – of reason. Only Desiderio, immune to mirages and fantasy, can defeat him. But Desiderio’s battle will take him to the very brink of undeniable, irresistible desire.

1972

Saints and Strangers

book cover: Saints and StrangersSaints and Strangers (also published as Black Venus), is an anthology of short fiction. Angela Carter takes real people and literary legends – most often women – who have been mythologized or marginalized and recasts them in a new light. In a style that is sensual, cerebral, almost hypnotic, “The Fall River Axe-Murders” portrays the last hours before Lizzie Borden’s infamous act: the sweltering heat, the weight of flannel and corsets, the clanging of the factory bells, the food reheated and reserved despite the lack of adequate refrigeration, the house “full of locked doors that open only into other rooms with other locked doors.” In “Our Lady of the Massacre” the no-nonsense voice of an eighteenth-century prostitute/runaway slave questions who is civilized – the Indians or the white men? “Black Venus” gives voice to Charles Baudelaire’s Creole mistress, Jeanne Duval: “you could say, not so much that Jeanne did not understand the lapidary, troubled serenity of her lover’s poetry but, that it was a perpetual affront to her. He recited it to her by the hour and she ached, raged and chafed under it because his eloquence denied her language.” “The Kiss” takes the traditional story of Tamburlaine’s wife and gives it a new and refreshing ending. Sometimes disquieting, sometimes funny, always thought-provoking, Angela Carter’s stories offer a feminist revision of images that lie deep in the public psyche.

1985

Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales

fairyOnce upon a time fairy tales weren’t meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. This stunning collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world- from the Arctic to Asia – and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty women and bad girls; enchantresses and midwives; rascal aunts and odd sisters. This fabulous celebration of strong minds, low cunning, black arts and dirty tricks could only have been collected by the unique and much-missed Angela Carter. Illustrated throughout with original woodcuts.

2005

Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories

book cover: Burning Your Boats This volume presents Carter’s considerable legacy of short fiction gathered from published books, and includes early and previously unpublished stories. From reflections on jazz and Japan, through vigorous refashionings of classic folklore and fairy tales, to stunning snapshots of modern life in all its tawdry glory, we are able to chart the evolution of Carter’s marvelous, magical vision.

1995

The Passion of New Eve

book cover for The Passion of New EveThis story follows Evelyn, a young Englishman, along a journey through mythology and sexuality. It is a story of how he learns to be a woman, first in the brutal hands of Zero, the ragtime Nietzsche, then through the ancient Tristessa, the beautiful ghost of Hollywood past.

1977

Heroes & Villains

book cover: Heroes and VillainsA modern fable, a post-apocalyptic romance, a gothic horror story; Angela Carter’s genre-defying fantasia “Heroes and Villains” includes an introduction by Robert Coover in “Penguin Modern Classics”. Sharp-eyed Marianne lives in a white tower made of steel and concrete with her father and the other Professors. Outside, where the land is thickly wooded and wild beasts roam, live the Barbarians, who raid and pillage in order to survive. Marianne is strictly forbidden to leave her civilized world but, fascinated by these savage outsiders, decides to escape. There, beyond the wire fences, she will discover a decaying paradise, encounter the tattooed Barbarian boy Jewel and go beyond the darkest limits of her imagination. Playful, sensuous, violent and gripping, “Heroes and Villains” is an ambiguous and deliriously rich blend of post-apocalyptic fiction, gothic fantasy, literary allusion and twisted romance.

1969

Love

cover of the novel Love“One day, Annabel saw the sun and moon in the sky at the same time. The sight filled her with a terror which entirely consumed her … for she had no instinct for self-preservation if she was confronted by ambiguities.”

Annabel and Lee are married; Lee and Buzz are brothers. A quirky threesome, they have set up a household on the fringes on university life in the late sixties. Their hermetic existence is filled with drugs, sex, alchohol, intensity, and madness; their relationships with one another are haunting and complex.

Carter’s compelling tale carries echoes of Poe and Bronte into the very modern world of artists’ flats, psychiatrists’ offices, and generational conflicts. It is ultimately a tale of the search for loyalty and love in the midst of emotional starvation.

1971

Sea-Cat and Dragon King

book cover: Sea-Cat and Dragon KingThis is a magical story of the love between mother and child and the gifts of kindness and understanding. Dragon King and Sea-Cat both live under the sea. Sea-Cat lives with his mother who sews him fabulous jewel-encrusted suits that shimmer and capture the attention of all who see him. Dragon King, the ruler, lives a sad and lonely life as he is so ashamed of his ugliness. When he sees Sea-Cat in his beautiful suit, he is overcome with jealousy and wants the suit for himself. But Sea-Cat is clever and kind and befriends Dragon King. Sea-Cat knows his mother can turn the Dragon King’s ruby tears into a most dazzling suit, just for him!

Illustrations: Eva Tatcheva.

2000