Book: The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
“We keep the wolves outside by living well.”
In this short story anthology, English writer Angela Carter strips popular fairy tales like “Beauty & the Beast” and “Little Red Riding Hood” down to their basic elements to explore themes of horror, Gothicism, taboo, bodily autonomy, and above all the roles of women in folklore and storytelling.
There’s no Satanism and only a little occultism in “The Bloody Chamber.” But Carter’s fables serve as a brilliant lesson in subversion, preserving the recognizable elements of familiar stories while inverting, undermining, or transforming their themes, politics, and prejudices to prosecute her own arguments.
Satanists of course often employ the myths and practices of much older traditions toward radically different ends in similar ways. And just like Satanic practice sometimes means embracing things that other people may consider strange or frightening, Carter’s exploration of Gothic themes illustrates the inherent appeal of the outlandish and the macabre.