Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Bloody Chamber? You Wait For The Caffe Nero Edition

An essay on Angela Carter is the next thing I have to do for my degree course. Oh dear. I hate Angela Carter. Well, hate might (might) be a strong word for how I feel about her. She actually bores me senseless.Or is it her?

It could be the universal approbation of her work that bores and annoys me. Feminist critics and male academics seem to think she's wonderful. "Sophisticated" people who drink lattes instead of coffee and like their bars to have sofas in them praise her lavishly. Her complete wondrousness appears to be the received wisdom of the literate professional classes.

But look at her book The Bloody Chamber. Is it really so incredibly innovative and intellectually marvellous - can it really be so 'out there' - to take a bunch of old fairy stories and folk tales, with their androcentric emphasis, and rewrite them from an empowered feministy perspective? That's the sort of reasonably interesting (but not especially so) idea that every intelligent person comes up with at the end of the evening after a few too many wines, but most have more important things to do than try to sell it in a book.

Putting it down on paper was never going to help anybody, anyway. People might say that isn't the purpose of literature, but surely a change of consciousness,at least, is the purpose of feminist literature; and a book like this will only reach people who already agree with it, if it reaches anybody at all. It certainly won't stop the thick-headed old man on the housing estate from talking to his wife like shit in the pub all night, and then beating her senseless at home when all his friends have drunk his last beer, smoked his last spliff and slunk off into the night. (You think things have changed folks? Try stepping over the river.)

The idea that drives Bloody Chamber is a parlour game for the left-leaning side of the chattering classes, that's all. And not especially compelling as a piece of writing either. I find her prose as exciting as cold porridge.

Perhaps that is just me, though. I don't have a large enough salary to appreciate the subtleties of great literature these days.


Anonymous said...

""Sophisticated" people who drink lattes instead of coffee and like their bars to have sofas in them praise her lavishly."

Do bloggers still go on about the Latte Generation? You might want to climb out of the early 90s!

Bruce Hodder said...

Mate, I'm not even out of the 80s yet.

By the way, you might want to find enough balls in your trousers to sign your name to your snide comments.