Given the macabre and often lurid subject matter of Anne Rice's fiction, one would imagine that a good biography of her would uncover some pretty spicy details, and, in fact, Katherine Ramsland's Prism of the Night
does a pretty good job of balancing analysis of Rice's work with a probing and revealing investigation of her life. Ramsland, a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University, extensively interviewed Rice for the book, and Stan Rice (Anne's poet-husband) read the manuscript. Throughout, Ramsland fulfills the promise of her introduction: "My approach combines psychological interpretation with philosophical themes. As I read the novels, I looked for qualities that transcended genre, while also developing autobiographical sketches.... This book is the result of an involved and sincere attempt to trace in her writing elements of literary creativity manifested in psychological sources." Often, close readings of the fiction are coupled with commentary about the key events (emotional, personal, literary, etc.) in Rice's life that likely impacted her characters and plots. The section on the death of Rice's daughter as it manifests in Interview with the Vampire
is especially wrenching. The book will be appreciated by fans for its extensive direct citation of Rice and her closest friends and relatives, and for its diverse collection of photographs. --Patrick O'Kelley
From Publishers Weekly
The life of novelist Anne Rice ( Interview with the Vampire , etc.) is almost as unusual as her fiction. Her birthname was Howard Allen O'Brien, and she changed her first name to Anne before marrying Stan Rice. Born in 1941, she grew up in a New Orleans full of Southern gothic ambience; her father enjoyed taking her through cemeteries. The death of her alcoholic, highly religious mother, and the later loss of her own daughter to leukemia, plunged her into grief, obsessive-compulsive behavior and nearly fragmented her. Through her supernatural tales and erotica written under a number of pseudonyms, she explored her own masochistic impulses, "sought to unite the male and female within herself" and expressed her desire for humanity's "enlightenment free of religious tyranny," according to Ramsland, who teaches philosophy at Rutgers. In a revelatory, intimate biography that fans will relish, Ramsland interprets Rice's vampires as metaphors of seduction and submission to a higher mystery and power. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.