Femininity and vampirism as a close circuit: “The Lady of the House of Love” by Angela Carter
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Rodríguez-Salas, G. Femininity and vampirism as a close circuit: “The Lady of the House of Love” by Angela Carter. En: Sites of female terror= En torno a la mujer y el terror. Ana Antón-Pacheco, et al. (eds). Cizur Menor (Navarra): Aranzadi, 2008. pp. 121-128. (Estudios de Mujeres; 6) [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/24876]
In her fiction, Angela Carter systematically presents an artificial notion of femininity that has to be overcome by women in order to fulfill themselves. In line with poststructuralist feminists, Carter aims to prove that, as Luce Irigaray states (84), “‘femininity’ is a role, an image, a value, imposed upon women by male systems of representation. In this masquerade of femininity, the woman loses herself, and loses herself by playing on her femininity”. Not surprisingly, Carter herself questions “the nature of my own reality as a woman. How that social fiction of my ‘femininity’ was created, by means outside my control, and palmed off on me as the real thing” (“Notes” 70). Once you realise that this role is artificially constructed, that “you’re not simply natural, you really need to know what’s going on” (“Interviewed” 189). Carter endeavours to show that femininity is a dark construction that imprisons women and turns them into living dead creatures. In her story “The Lady of the House of Love” —included in her collection The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1991), but first published in The Iowa Review (1975)— she uses the motif of the Queen of vampires together with gothic elements as powerful devices to display the artificial life of femininity and its dark side. Carter’s question in the story is whether it is possible for women to escape from this role and find freedom.