Black Venus

Chatto & Windus

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Extraordinary and diverse people inhabit this rich, ripe, occasionally raucous collection of short stories. Some are based on real people —Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire's handsome and reluctant muse who never asked to the called the Black Venus, trapped in the terminal ennui of the poet's passion, snatching at a little lifesaving respectability against all odds... Edgar Allen Poe, with his face of a tragic actor, demonstrating in every thought and deed how right his friends were when they said, 'No man is safe who drinks before breakfast.'

And Lizzie Borden, lying in bed one hot summer's night in a turn-of-the-century New England mill town, dreaming about parricide. 

And some of these people are totally imaginary. Such as the seventeenth century whore, transported to Virginia for thieving, who turns into a good woman in spite of herself among the Indians, who have nothing worth stealing. And a girl, suckled by wolves, strange and indifferent as nature, who will not tolerate returning to humanity. To say nothing of the 'infant prodigy of the pans', the child chef who teaches himself French from cookery books ('A for asperges...')

And one of them — 'Call me the Golden Herm' — takes off from a clue about the ambiguous nature of the changeling prince in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' who causes so much trouble between Oberon and Titania/

Angela Carter wonderfully mingles history, fiction, invention, literary criticism, high drama and low comedy in a glorious collection of stories as full of contradictions and surprises as life itself.


Condition: Pre-loved book. Minor yellowing of pages. Otherwise in good condition.

Format: Hardcover
Year published: 1985

Pages: 121
Fantasy, horror, short fiction
Imprint: Chatto & Windus


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