The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

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‘the first great beast of the Apocalypse’ – The prophet Ezekiel first described the cherubim as having four faces, that of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle (Ezk 1); later on, the author of the Apocalypse (Revelation) describes the cherubim in the full bodily shape of these four beasts, the first of which mentioned is a lion. As there are four, the four cherubim became associated with the four gospel writers: traditionally St Mark is the lion. It is winged because it is an angel (a cherub), and the winged lion has also become the heraldic symbol of Venice, whose cathedral houses the relics of St Mark. The Beast is thus associated with an animal that is considered glorious and majestic, rather than something low and bestial.

Glossary – ‘The Tiger’s Bride’

‘the Devil's picture books’ – Originally a Puritan expression for playing-cards, which were associated with gambling and fortune-telling. A minor theme of the beginning of the story is that Milord resembles the Devil.

‘the firewater they call “grappa”’ – brandy made from ‘pomace’, or the leftovers after grapes have been pressed for wine.

‘“Che bella!”’ – The Italian landlady has just referred to Milord as ‘“La Bestia!”’ and together her two utterances allude to ‘La Belle et Le Bête’ – the original French title of ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

‘purplish civit’ – musk from the civit, a cat-like animal from Asia and Africa. The phrase is an example of synaesthesia: here describing a scent in terms of a colour.

‘his Mantegnas’ – Renaissance Italian paintings by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506).

‘his Giulio Romanos’ – Italian painter and architect (1499-1546).

‘his Cellini saltcellars’ – This is hyperbole, as Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) only produced one ‘Saliera’ a table sculpture carved from ivory, gold, ebony and enamel. Milord’s wealth is fabulous beyond imagining: although he wins the game of cards, it is worth noting that he is prepared to lose everything to gain Beauty.

‘my father’s soul was in peril’ – Milord has already been referred to as ‘having the Devil’s knack at cards’ and the idea here is that the narrator’s father, like Doctor Faustus, is in danger of losing his soul to the devil (specifically by putting a material price on his own daughter).

‘Capisco?’ – ‘Do you understand?’

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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