This article demonstrates that Angela Carter’s English translation of Charles Perrault’s “La Barbe bleue” does not merely adapt the story for a modern audience, but constitutes a form of rewriting that is best understood in counterpoint with “The Bloody Chamber.” Carter’s “Bluebeard” involves a generic shift that reflects current notions about Perrault as an author for children; and its formal, stylistic, thematic, and semantic configurations match the translator’s idea of the nature and purpose of Perrault’s tales, as well as the editorial constraints of the illustrated book. But the work of translation and background reading about the fairy-tale tradition enabled Carter to discover the “adult” content and textual complexities of Perrault’s tales. Carter’s dialogue with Perrault is thus not unlike her approach to the Marquis de Sade, insofar as she reclaimed both writers against critics who condemned fairy tales and pornography. Like Perrault, Carter believed fairy tales could carry useful knowledge distinct from conventional morality and that as a modern genre par excellence they could be (re)made to reflect ever-changing realities.


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pp. 40-58
Launched on MUSE
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