This book develops insights into the vexed question of Carter's textual practices through the dusty lens of the Gothic. It argues that European Gothic is vital to illuminating and understanding the tension between politics and aesthetics in Carter's work. The book shows how a more concerted focus on Carter's European literary inheritance sheds light on her particular and perverse engagements with androcentric literary and cultural frameworks. It emblematises the tension between her textual extravagancies and her self-declared 'absolute and committed materialism'. Her firm belief 'that this world is all that there is, and in order to question the nature of reality one must move from a strongly grounded base in what constitutes material reality'. The book examines the fraught relationship between Carter's sexual and textual politics. Exploring the ways in which Carter's work speaks to broader discussions about the Gothic and its representations, the book is especially concerned with analysing her textual engagements with a male-authored strand of European Gothic. This is a dirty lineage that can be mapped from the Marquis de Sade's obsession with desecration and defilement to surrealism's violent dreams of abjection. The book not only situates Carter as part of a European Gothic tradition but theoretically aligns her with what Jane Gallop, in her book on Sade, describes as France's "deconstructive" feminism, daughter of antihumanism.
notion of liberation was
limited to the male subject. Malesurrealists, writes Rudolf E.
did not see woman as a subject, but as a
projection, an object of their own dreams of femininity. [...]
Women are to the maleSurrealists, as in the longstanding
traditions of patriarchy, servants, helpers in the forms of
through a web
of lèse-majesté dust’ ( SD 88). Here the
queen (alongside the philandering king) appears, like the mannequin, as
an image of death and decay, the lèse-majesté dust a
portent of her imminent defilement.
Like several malesurrealists, Morris envisages his
relationship with women in terms of chess positions – for example,
he refers to himself as ‘checkmated again