Women’s Short Fiction from Virginia Woolf to Ali Smith
Edited By Laura Lojo Rodriguez
Chapter 4. “In Me More Than Myself ”: Enjoyment at the Heart of the Symbolic in Angela Carter’s Short Fiction 83 - ANA Ma LOSADA PÉREZ
ANA Mª LOSADA PÉREZ Chapter 4. “In Me More Than Myself ”: Enjoyment at the Heart of the Symbolic in Angela Carter’s Short Fiction This chapter reads Carter’s work as exemplary of Postmodernism in the light of what Slavoj Žižek considers as Postmodernism’s deﬁ ning feature: the presence of enjoyment at the heart of symbolic reality. For the purpose of description, this chapter focuses on six stories from Carter’s four short story collections: “The Executioner’s Beautiful Daughter” from Fireworks (1974), “The Bloody Chamber”, “The Erl-King” and “Wolf-Alice”, col- lected in The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979), “The Fall River Axe Murders” from Black Venus (1985) and “Lizzie’s Tiger” from her posthumous collection American Ghosts and Old World Wonders (1993). In all the six stories some characters encounter enjoyment and others suc- cumb to it. In terms of the paternal metaphor that Freud, and Lacan after him, used to account for the origins of the processes of subject-formation, the main characters of these stories either confront or embody the anal father, a paternal ﬁ gure of unlimited enjoyment whose comeback renders symbolic reality, the “Name-of-the-Father”, inconsistent and threatens to thwart the subject’s integration into the symbolic order, and thus into the domain of desire. Our analysis of the relation between Carter’s characters and enjoyment reveals that the latter is not external to symbolic reality in her ﬁ ction; on the contrary, it is produced by symbolic reality itself in its enforcing of prohibitions, what renders characters as postmodernist subjects split into...
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