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In Defense of Carter!

I'm sorry to have missed class! I hope the Carter discussion went well -- wow, what a prose stylist! Her sentences are gold. When I chatted with people they seemed frustrated with the apparent repetition of subject matter, and the "unradicalness" of her retellings of the fairy tales. But consider this: she clearly enjoys the deep, disturbing aesthetic of the fairy tale, and she wouldn't want to disrupt that, I think, with postmodern experimentation (although there is a bit of that; muted). What I like about her writing is that she stays true to the baroque machinations of the fairy tale, the laquered language, the assumptions of otherworldliness. What I think is so innovative about her approach is, in fact, that reverence for language itself as a fairy tale: an impossible and aestheticized system of rules where reality is heightened or even dismissed, and where pleasure (this is key; sheer pleasure and tittilation) dictates linguistic boundaries. The richness of her sentences are like meals: fettucine alfredo, chicken kiev, a salted avocado eaten whole. Has anyone read her novels?


I've read Nights at the Circus, which is written in a similar style but is grounded more firmly in our world (though strange, otherworldly characters abound and miraculous events occur). It also engages more directly in the discourse about reality vs. fantasy, enacting this through dramatic and sometimes farcical situations. That's all I can really say as it's been several years since I read it, but I do remember enjoying it quite a bit more than The Bloody Chamber.