The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

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In rejecting her humanity, the ‘Tiger’s bride’ finds, it appears, a life of fulfilment. In ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’ the transformation takes place in the traditional fashion (from Beast to man), and there is unquestionably a sense of something lost:

then it was no longer a lion in her arms but a man, a man with an unkempt mane of hair and, how strange, a broken nose, such as the noses of retired boxers, that gave him a distant, heroic resemblance to the handsomest of all the beasts.

Glossary – ‘The Courtship of Mr Lyon’

‘a miniature, perfect, Palladian house’ – in the neo-classical style associated with the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580).

‘a liver and white King Charles spaniel’ – a miniature breed of spaniel. King Charles II of England was so fond of the animals that his name has become attached them. There may be some significance in the fact that this spaniel serves a lion, popularly considered the ‘king of the beasts’.

‘a Kelim runner’ – a kind of Persian rug with geometric patterns. The name is Turkish. A ‘runner’ is a narrow rug or carpet, often used for a passage or stairway.

‘Drink me’; ‘Eat me’ – These labels are allusions to similar ones in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. They imply that, like Alice, Beauty’s father has entered a magical world in which the normal rules of everyday existence no longer apply. Alice Through the Looking-Glass is alluded to in ‘Wolf-Alice’, the final tale in the collection.

‘the dining room was Queen Anne’ – in the style associated with the period of her reign (1702-1714), in which furniture design aimed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as practical.

‘Miss Lamb’ – soon to be wed to ‘Mr Lyon’. A not uncommon surname, but playing with the biblical idea that in paradise ‘the lion will lie down with the lamb’ (cf. Isaiah 11.6).

‘a collection of courtly and elegant French fairy tales about white cats who were transformed princesses and fairies who were birds.’ – Probably the fairy stories of Madame d’Aulnoy (1650-1705), whose collections Les Contes des Fées and Contes Nouveaux ou Les Fées à la Mode were particularly popular.

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the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul