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From Bluebeard’s Bloody Chamber to Demonic Stigmatic

  • Marie Mulvey-Roberts

Abstract

‘Female Gothic’ is a contested term which, when unveiled, is characterised by a number of recurring plots written by women writers. Ellen Moers, who coined the term, refers to the novels of one of its earliest exponents Ann Radcliffe, whose typical heroine is ’simultaneously persecuted victim and courageous heroine’.2 Her predecessor may be found in the ‘Bluebeard’ fairy tale, which in turn is a reworking of the archetypal narrative of female disobedience prompted by curiosity which appears in classical mythology as in the tale of Pandora’s Box, and in the Bible as the story of Eve. This chapter explores the relationships between desire, texts and death, including the connection between dangerous reading and sexual knowledge out of which spring archetypal narratives of female disobedience. Particular attention is given to the reworking of the motif of the forbidden room in the traditional Bluebeard fairy tale.

Keywords

Fairy Tale Sexual Knowledge Romantic Love Woman Writer Subsequent Reference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Ellen Moers, Literary Women, introd. Helen Taylor (London: The Women’s Press [1976], 1986), 91.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Marie Mulvey-Roberts 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Mulvey-Roberts
    • 1
  1. 1.English DepartmentUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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