Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories.
"The Bloody Chamber"
A young innocent girl is married to a rich old widower. He leaves her after the wedding night to attend to business and entrusts her with his keys. She is forbidden to enter one chamber in his castle but she does so. There she finds the tortured corpses of his three former wives. Her husband is about to decapitate her for this offence but her wild mother appears to save her. She returns to live with her mother and the blind piano tuner who stood by her side at the castle to support her.
"The Courtship of Mr Lyon"
Father of the Beauty runs out of petrol on his way home. He knocks on the door of a mansion inhabited by the Beast, half-man, half-lion. The Beast orders him to invite his daughter for dinner, in exchange he reestablishes the bankrupt man to his former wealth. The Beauty forgets the promise she gave the Beast and fails to visit him again. She is summoned to his death-bed and her love turns the lion into the man whom she marries.
"The Tiger's Bride"
Father loses his daughter to the Beast, half-man and half-tiger, at cards. The Beast wants the girl to show herself naked, she refuses. So he shows himself naked before he eyes, to which she replies by removing her clothes, too. She realises how easily her father gave her up and chooses to stay with the Beast. When they caress, the Beast turns her into a tiger, too.
The puss serves as a valet to a young man, equally foxy as the puss himself. Together they are involved in a number of tricks by which they earn their living. The man falls in a love with a young girl married to an old impotent man. He cheats the woman who guards the young girl and makes love to her. Still in love with her afterwards, together with the puss he arranges the death of the husband and marries the girl himself.
A woman describes her experience as a lover of the hermit called Erl-King. She used to visit him in the forest to make love to him. His cottage contained numerous cages with birds in them. He turned her into a bird and closed her in a cage. She managed to cheat him, strangle him with his own hair and release all the captured birds who turned back into young women.
"The Snow Child"
A count expresses his wish to have a daughter. Immediately a young girl stands in front of him. His wife is jealous of her and bids her to pick a rose for her. The girl pricks herself and dies. The count makes love to the corpse and turns back to his wife, handing her the rose. She does not take it because it pricks.
"The Lady of the House of Love"
A young vampire girl lives a castle in a deserted village. She is ashamed for her wicked taste in human flesh. Her maid lures visitors to the castle to offer her fresh flesh. Once she invites a young brave man in. The vampire girl falls in love with him and the lack of fear on the side of the man turns her into a human being. She consequently dies and the man departs for his duties in the army.
A little highlander girl goes to visit her sick grandmother. On her way through the forest, she defends herself against a wolf and cuts off his feet. In the grandmother's house she finds out the old women's hand is cut off and the wolf feet she took with her turned into a human hand. The grandmother is killed and the girl prospers in her house.
"The Company of Wolfes"
Several disparate stories concerning half-men and half-wolves are related. The final longest story is based on the motifs of Red Riding Hood. A young girl, just turned woman, goes to visit her grandmother. She meets a man on her way who bets with her that he would arrive to her grandmother's house earlier than she. He does so, eats up the old woman and waits for the girl. The girl is not afraid of him when she finds out he is a half-wolf, and lets him seduce her.
Alice is discovered as a young girl brought up by wolves. She is half-wolf, half-human. She learns few simple chores to become a servant in the house of a werewolf. The villagers hunt after the werewolf and injure him. Alice feels sympathy to the outsider and comes to lick his face as a wolf would do. Her caresses make the werewolf's image to appear in the mirror for the first time.
- rich metaphorical, symbolic, poetic language
- straightforward eroticism, brutality, sadism, sexual love related to death
- feminism, celebration of strong women characters
- motifs from fairy tales, Gothic stories, folk tales
AuthorCarter, Angela. (1940 - 1992).
Full TitleThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories.
First PublishedLondon: Victor Gollancz, 1979.
FormCollection of short stories.
Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. (1979). London: Penguin, 1981.