This article explores the role of Japanese folktales in Angela Carter’s oeuvre, focusing especially on the figure of the Japanese fox trickster that appears in Fireworks, Love, and The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman. In these works, the shape-shifting body of the East-Asian fox becomes a site of conflict between contrasting categories (male/female, European/Asian, human/animal) and mirrors the process by which the characters are turned into commodified, fictionalized representations of gender and race. The trickster’s ability to shift across the animal–human border also provides Carter with a narrative device to interrogate the cultural boundaries that define both sexuality and humanity (as opposed to bestiality)—a topic that prefigures her critique of patriarchal and anthropocentric hierarchies in The Bloody Chamber.

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