Lorna Sage


This essay describes the cerebral pleasure and liberation Angela Carter found in the fairy tale, and its transformational effect on her oeuvre, by drawing a comparison (as she did) with the form’s significance for Italo Calvino. Carter’s Bloody Chamber tales were written while she was re-reading Sade, and they are read here in that light, as a cruelly self-conscious anatomy of the spell cast on women, including women writers, by the enchantment of passivity. Fairy tales have served this bad magic, but (Carter finds) they can help break the spell. They illuminate a whole English literary landscape, which becomes readable and rewritable in new ways.