To analyze Anne Rice’s work by genre or kind of fiction, it’s necessary to go all the way back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was then that writers developed a fascination with the modern ideas of the supernatural. These writers, the Romantics, rejected the idea that everything could be explained by science and instead insisted that there were many things unexplained and unexplainable, including the individual human spirit. Romantic literature emphasizes strong ties to nature as both wild and true, an acceptance of the supernatural as a real force in life, an appreciation for passion over logic, and a rejection of conventional rules or rituals. The Romantics’ fascination with both the importance of the individual and the supernatural led them to explore new areas in the two genres that Anne Rice most often draws on: horror and gothic fiction. But Rice’s similarities to the Romantics go beyond the genres they both write, for Rice is a twentieth-century Romantic writer, a throwback to dreamers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, and Mary Shelley.
Coleridge created one of literature’s most famous characters in his poem ‘‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’’ and there are many echoes of this tale in Rice’s work. The old sailor who is the central character in this poem has committed a terrible sin against nature by shooting an albatross, and as the poem opens, he has grabbed the arm of a wedding guest to tell him his tale, even though the guest wants to go in to the