The tale of the serial wife-murderer Bluebeard, his defiant, and surviving, final wife,a bloodied key and a secret chamber of horrors, has fascinated writers, composers,artists and film-makers throughout modern times. It is a unique story that dares todisclose and explore masculine violence: the homme fatal. This transdisciplinary work identifies the deep appeal of the Bluebeard story fortwentieth-century culture. Its major focus is on how the modernist imagination usedthe elements of Bluebeard's tale to explore masculinity's anxieties in the face of theemerging demands of women for redefinition and sexual equality, as well asanxieties of ethnic and cultural difference. It also examines fundamental disquietabout sexuality, pathology and violence in the masculine. With chapters by Maria Tatar, Elisabeth Bronfen, Mererid Puw Davies, Ian Christie,David Cooper, Michael Hiltbrunner and the editors, the volume undertakes cultural,contextual and musicological analyses of Bartk's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle,tracing Bluebeard's evolution from Perrault in the seventeenth century to thecinematic hommes fatals of Mlis, Fritz Lang and Hitchcock. The result is anintriguing kaleidoscope of sexuality, curiosity, violence and death.
Death and Secrets from Bartok to Hitchcock