Angela Carter Fairy Tale

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Dissolving Normative Boundaries: Angela Carter’s Fairy Tales

Fairy tales, as Jack Zipes argues in Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion: The Classical Genre for Children and the Process of Civilisation (1983), adapted from oral folklore and initiated into the written literary tradition was a marginalized genre till the 1970s (1-3). With critics and readers becoming sensitive to the underlying politics of fairy tales, the selection and appropriation of specific tales from scores of popular tales—seemingly a harmless activity—came under scrutiny and ushered in numerous discussions on its latent ideologies. Charles Perrault credited as the first publisher of literary fairy tales and often touted as the founding father of fairy tale as a literary
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Two years later, she wrote The Bloody Chamber (1979), which contained re-writings of “The Blue Beard,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Erl King,” “Puss in Boots,” “Snow Child,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Red Riding Hood.” Critics such as Patricia Duncker in “Re-Imagining the Fairy Tales: Angela Carter’s Bloody Chambers” (1984), Robert Clark in “Angela Carter’s Desire Machine” (1987) and Avis Lewallen in “Wayward Girls but Wicked Women?”(1988) criticized Carter’s Sadeian Woman and The Bloody Chamber as a reiteration of the stereotypes it interrogates. For them, her writings presented women with the fateful choice of being a victim or a perpetrator of violence. Elaine Jordan, Merja Makinen, and Margaret Atwood, on the other hand, read Carter’s writings as a critique and a parody of the feminine and masculine representations that figure in earlier writings. Almost a decade later, Lucie Armitt in “The Fragile Frames of The Bloody Chamber?” (1997) argued that The Bloody Chambermust be considered a single narrative or a whole in which each story interacts with and complements the other. The re-vealing as well as the re-veiling achieved through the use of gothic motifs were also part of Armitt’s discussion. Cristina Bacchilega in Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies (1997) conducted a study of various re-tellings of popular fairy tales in the context of the construction of a new female subject and The Bloody Chamber formed an important part of the study. All these studies concentrated on debates regarding the perpetuation and deconstruction of representations of the body, virginity, and sexual maturation as important aspects of female and male

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