Olga Sonkin On:
The Lady of the House of Love by Angela Carter
Angela Carter sparked a cultural revolution—she rewrote Western culture’s defining legends (the myths), and rewriting (if done properly, of course) has magical powers—to change the story means the altering of reality. In the story “The Lady of the House of Love,” Carter turns the tables and changes the rules of vampirism. The vampire, the Lady of the House of Love, is a descendant of the infamous Vlad Tepes, a beautiful damsel who dreams of being human but is trapped in the body of a vampire. The British army officer who arrives at her home on the eve of World War I embodies the polar opposite of the vampire dynasty’s decadent past. He is the future—young, healthy and rational. “This lack of imagination gives his heroism to the hero.” And indeed, his lack of imagination and his solid logic saves him from the claws of the delicate vampire, who yearns for love, and in her yearning loses herself. The Lady of the House of Love is the old world finally collapsing, the aristocracy giving way. But giving way to what? World War I is around the corner, and the world will no longer be as it was… We will no longer fear vampires.