Anne Rice and Sexual Politics

The Early Novels


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About the Book

From the vampires Lestat and Louis to a sexually liberated Sleeping Beauty, novelist Anne Rice has created a host of characters who are notable for their paradoxical combinations of the deviant and the conventional. Exit to Eden, for example, ends with the sado-masochistic protagonists embarking on a traditional monogamous heterosexual relationship, while the vampires often long to exchange their erotic immortality for “ordinary” mortal lives and loves. This scholarly analysis of the seemingly incompatible elements of the subversive and the socially acceptable in Rice’s early work covers her career from the landmark Interview with the Vampire (1976) to Lasher (1993). Each chapter tackles a different aspect of Rice’s conflicting portrayals of sexual issues, including homophobia, pedophilia, castration anxiety, and the vast array of gender stereotypes and roles that her novels so often interpret and exploit. This study is appropriate both for readers of Rice’s writing and those intrigued by issues of sexual politics and the ways in which a popular author both embraces and repudiates some of the most shocking concepts of sexuality. An index and bibliography are included to aid research.

About the Author(s)

James R. Keller is a professor and chair of the English and Theatre department at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. The author or editor of numerous works about popular culture, he lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

James R. Keller

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 181
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2000
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0846-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8101-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fashioning the Author   1

1. Interrogating the Vampire: Heterotextuality and Queer Reading      11
2. Engendering Whiteness: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Class in The Feast of All Saints      41
3. The Purloined Penis: Castration Anxiety in Cry to Heaven      65
4. Violation and Sex Education: Beauty’s Erotic Odyssey      91
5. Exit to Eden: The Body, the Spectacle, and the Transgressive Space      103
6. Prurient Painters and Pedophiles: Negotiating Consent in Belinda      127
7. Rape Fantasies: Constructing a Masculine Prototype among the Mayfair Witches      143

Conclusion: Gender, Horror, and Popular Culture       159
Bibliography     167
Index     173

Book Reviews & Awards

“captivating…superb”—Public Library Quarterly; “indispensable”—Cercles.