By Maggie Tonkin (auth.)
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Additional resources for Angela Carter and Decadence: Critical Fictions/Fictional Critiques
I examine this idea through reading a selection of her texts alongside significant intertexts from what can loosely be described as the Decadent tradition. Carter’s invocation of these multiple intertexts sends her readers on what, in her book Irony’s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony, Linda Hutcheon terms ‘inferential walks’ (144). This is a process in which the reader refers to various intertextual frames Introduction 25 so as to glean information about the primary text. According to Hutcheon, this intertextual mechanism is one of the primary means of producing irony, as the reader is forced to contrast the ‘said’ of text and intertext(s) with the unsaid of both.
Crushed as she was close to them, their smell filled her nostrils until she almost choked with it. And also with horror, for she had never sat close to men who smelt before. A ferocious, unwashed, animal reek came from them both; in addition, Finn stank of paint and turps on top of the poverty-stricken, slum smell. (36) Although she is shabby and at times unkempt, Aunt Margaret is free of the taint of her brothers’ smell, which is inextricable from their masculinity. Later, when Finn comes up to Melanie’s room, his maleness itself is imaged as a sexually threatening smell: It was as if he had put on the quality of maleness like a flamboyant cloak.
However, when Melanie and the children share a taxi with Finn and his brother Francie, it is their smell, above all, that evinces her disgust: Then there was silence and then Melanie began to smell the men. She was puzzled for some moments as to the source of the smell, 40 Angela Carter and Decadence so little did she expect the brothers would be so dirty. Crushed as she was close to them, their smell filled her nostrils until she almost choked with it. And also with horror, for she had never sat close to men who smelt before.
Angela Carter and Decadence: Critical Fictions/Fictional Critiques by Maggie Tonkin (auth.)