Angela Carter by Linden Peach (auth.)

By Linden Peach (auth.)

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Nevertheless, it is at the level of horror-fantasy that Shadow Dance isashocking book. After the disastraus one-night stand with Ghislaine, Morris teils his flamboyantly violent friend, Honeybuzzard, with whom he runs the junk shop, to 'teach her a lesson'. He is unprepared for what Honeybuzzard does. In a graveyard, she is raped and slashed with a knife after which her face is left monstrously scarred. However, she returns from hospital to haunt Morris in ways which are reminiscent of 'the bride of Frankenstein' and of Dracula and eventually to take Honeybuzzard away from his new womanfriend, Emily.

In The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972), Mendoza is said to have claimed 'that if a thing were sufficiently artificial; it became absolutely equivalent to the genuine' (p. 102). This is a concept which Carter explores from various perspectives and in different levels of detail throughout the post-Japan fiction. The impact of Japan in this respect is evident in the first collection of 'stories' published after she had left there. In 'Flesh and the Mirror' from Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (1974), two strangers make love, and one of them sees their reflections in the mirror above them: But the selves we were not, the selves of our own habitual perceptions of ourselves, had a far more insubstantial substance than the reflections we were.

According to Kristeva, the melancholic is someone for whom despair and pain, as in Bartleby's case, provide the only meaning. The melancholic's identification with suffering and death, evidenced by Morris and Bartleby, is thus part of their failure to transform suffering in imaginative language. Kristeva (1987) argues that the melancholic's sadness is: the most archaic expression of a non-symbolisable, unnameable narcissistic wound that is so premature that no external agent (subject or object) can be referred to it.

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