Anne Rice is known primarily for her novels. In addition to her historical fiction and her well-known vampire and witch novel series, Rice has published several erotic novels. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release appeared under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure, while Rice used the pen name Anne Rampling for Exit to Eden and Belinda. Rice also wrote the screenplay for the 1994 film adaptation of her novel Interview with the Vampire.
For most of her career, Anne Rice has experimented with several different literary genres and has acquitted herself well in each: gothic horror, historical fiction, erotica, romance. Theconventions of gothic fiction, however, best conform to Rice’s early obsessions with eroticism, androgyny, myth, and the nature of evil. For critics and fans alike, the novels that constitute the Vampire Chronicles are her greatest achievement thus far. Gothic horror, like all popular fiction, is customarily slighted by commentators, who peg it as nothing more than a barometer of its own time, devoid of resonance. Paradoxically perhaps, Rice’s success grew out of her ability to revamp the vampire, to update the hoary edifice first built by Horace Walpole in 1765 in The Castle of Otranto. She did more, however, than merely put her archetypal hero, the vampire Lestat, in black leather on a motorcycle; she made him, in all his selfishness and soul searching, emblematic of the waning days of the twentieth century.
With the publication in 2005 of the first of a projected four-part re-creation of the life of Jesus, Rice began mining a new literary vein. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and its sequel, The Road to Cana, draw on Rice’s research into the Gospels and New Testament scholarship, but they also benefit from Rice’s past experiments with historical fiction and—perhaps more surprising—her dexterity in creating fiction out of the supernatural.
Badley, Linda. Writing Horror and the Body: The Fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. Badley examines horror fiction as a fantastic genre that distorts the images of the body and the self. She looks at these three authors and their approach to horror as a dialogue on the anxieties of American culture.
Dickinson, Joy. Haunted City: An Unauthorized Guide to the Magical, Magnificent New Orleans of Anne Rice. New York: Citadel Press, 1995. Chapters on the city’s Creole history, the French Quarter, the Garden District, the cemeteries and tombs, the churches, swamps, and plantations, and the nineteenth century milieu of Lestat.
Hoppenstand, Gary, and Ray B. Browne, eds. The Gothic World of Anne Rice. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Press, 1996. Essays by the most important Rice critics on all aspects of her fiction: the Vampire Chronicles, the romances, and her stories of the supernatural.
Keller, James R. Anne Rice and Sexual Politics: The Early Novels. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2000. Addresses early works in terms of gender identity and sexual issues. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Ramslund, Katherine M. Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. New York: Dutton, 1991....
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