Bluebeard's Legacy: Death and Secrets from Bartók to

The story of the serial wife-murderer Bluebeard, his defiant, and surviving, ultimate spouse, a bloodied key and a mystery chamber of horrors, has interested writers, composers, artists and film-makers all through sleek occasions. it's a detailed tale that dares to reveal and discover masculine violence: the homme fatal.

This  transdisciplinary ebook explores the deep attraction of the Bluebeard tale for twentieth-century tradition. Its significant concentration is how the modernist mind's eye used the weather of Bluebeard’s story to discover masculinity’s anxieties within the face of the rising calls for of ladies for redefinition and sexual equality: anxieties additionally of ethnic and cultural distinction, and basic disquiet approximately sexuality, pathology and violence within the masculine.

Starting with investigations into Bartók’s opera 'Duke Bluebeard’s Castle', significant cultural thinkers, together with Elisabeth Bronfen, Ian Christie, Griselda Pollock and Maria Tatar, hint Bluebeard’s evolution from Perrault within the 17th century  to the cinematic hommes fatals of Méliès, Fritz Lang and Hitchcock.

The result's an fascinating kaleidoscope of sexuality, interest, violence and death.

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Extra info for Bluebeard's Legacy: Death and Secrets from Bartók to Hitchcock (New Encounters: Arts, Cultures, Concepts)

Sample text

In its last chapter, Lina lies in bed, indulging in self-pity, yet at the same time submitting to her own murder by swallowing the poisoned draught Johnnie gives her: Lina flung herself down among the pillows. Let him then! Quickly! If Johnnie could do that, Lina no longer wanted to live. She burst into a torrent of sobbing. No, it was impossible. Johnnie could not be going to kill her. Not Johnnie […]. At any moment Johnnie might come in—break the door down and kill her in her own bedroom: throw her out of the window on to the flagstones below and say she had fallen—anything.

Women give in, but it’s a fleeting pleasure; Once satisfied, it ceases to be. 14 Curiosity is coded as a feminine trait, one that has its ‘attractions’, not the least of which is the ‘pleasure’ it provides. The moral encapsulates a concise cost–benefit analysis, pointing out that the high price for satisfying curiosity never compensates for the small dose of pleasure afforded by it. Restraint, constructed as the product of reason and logic, is consequently affiliated with the authority of the male narrator, who has marked its opposite as a supremely feminine trait.

L. Austin termed ‘performative language’ in his landmark work How To Do Things with Words. 19 Think of the Grimms’ Cinderella, who tells a tree to shake its leaves and produce silver and gold and—no sooner said than done— the dress is hers to wear to the ball. Or the Goose Girl, in the tale of that title, who invokes the winds, conjuring them to blow away the hat of the boy annoying her. Her words too are translated into action. Nearly all the fairy-tale transformations from man into beast derive from a curse, and, in many cases, wish-fulfilment requires only words rather than caps and wands.

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