The Blood Is the Life: Vampires in Literature

By Leonard G. Heldreth; Mary Pharr | Go to book overview

5
NEW LIFE FOR AN OLD TRADITION:
ANNE RICE AND VAMPIRE LITERATURE

Martin J. Wood

Most vampire fiction succeeds in thrilling its readers because humans find stories of evil and horror immensely attractive. Few monsters have seemed quite so evil or quite so horrible as vampires, and their very attractiveness has largely distracted us from some fairly silly aspects of their traditional myths. So long as authors have been able to conjure up the allure of vampirism they could ignore the apparent irrelevance of its mythology. But since 1976, Anne Rice has done much to challenge this notion of irrelevance. Her vampire novels, probably the most popular ever written, may also be the most disturbing because they force readers to confront the core truths of the myth itself. Especially with her first two or three novels in the vampire tradition, readers find themselves feeling an uneasy sympathy with monsters, enjoying their murderous assaults on human beings. Caught up in the stories yet mystified by their own uneasiness, readers frequently wonder whether something else is going on.

Those who look more deeply into Rice's early works may become even more unsettled. Beneath a seductive text that repeatedly portrays the attraction and compulsion of evil they sense a disturbing subtext. Sensuousness seems suddenly to become equated with death, pleasure with evil, erotic (especially homoerotic) behavior with possession, consumption, and destruction. Fortunately neither the text nor subtext ultimately encourages these equations; rather, I suggest, these arise as a result of a conditioned misreading, an unconscious use of inappropriate codes for translating the events of Rice's books into meaning. When appropriately translated, Rice's works force a jarring revision of our understanding of vampire mythology and, finally, of ourselves. In other words, the vampire myth is indeed relevant, but the literary and cultural codes by which it has been inscribed and transmitted—before Anne Rice—have become obsolete. Rice's vampire fiction succeeds not merely because it is thrilling and well written, but because it also translates mythic truth by means of new, powerful codes.

-59-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Blood Is the Life: Vampires in Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 275

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.