The Museum of dust
in Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers
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Angela Carter's intertextual engagements with the sexual and textual violence of a male-authored European Gothic lineage raise unsettling questions about her complicity with an aesthetic structured around the objectification of the female body. Like the Lady of the House of Love, Carter is a Gothic daughter who has inherited a haunted house full of dust, shadows and echoes. But there is another 'Museum of dust' that resides in Carter's fiction. Carter's last novel, Wise Children, marks something of a departure from the European Gothic bloodline that can be traced through many of her earlier texts. Carter's dialogues with the dusty, dirty scripts of her literary forefathers involve simultaneous acts of composition and decomposition. As she argues in 'Notes on the Gothic Mode', the Gothic is primarily an analytic method. Concerned with dismantling its illusory structures, Carter's textual practice does not just vampirically feed off this European Gothic bloodline.

Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers

Angela Carter and European Gothic


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