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Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice

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From the hauntingly imaginative worlds of the supernatural to the dark sexuality of the truly erotic, the novels of Anne Rice have had the chilling power to connect with readers' deepest, most secret fantasies and have given rise to questions about the enigmatic author herself. Now, in this first full-length biography, emiment scholar Katherine Ramsland provides a revealin From the hauntingly imaginative worlds of the supernatural to the dark sexuality of the truly erotic, the novels of Anne Rice have had the chilling power to connect with readers' deepest, most secret fantasies and have given rise to questions about the enigmatic author herself. Now, in this first full-length biography, emiment scholar Katherine Ramsland provides a revealing portrait of Anne Rice, the woman; a history of the circumstances that led to the writing of her irresistible books of the macabe and the forbidden; and in-depth analysis of her major novels, including "Interview With the Vampire, the Vampire Lestat, The Witching Hour, " and the "Sleeping Beauty" trilogy. Here is the whole story of the young Anne Rice, born Howard Allen O'Brien in a Gothic-like New Orleans to a brilliant and doomed mother and complex father, who took his daughter for walks in the decaying cemeteries of the"Big Easy" of Anne's passionate love for poet Stan Rice that began in her teen years; of their married life in the turbulent San Francisco of the 1960s; and of her first efforts as a writer, which would climax in her daughter's death. At once disturbing and fascinating, this dramatic, informative account brings to vivid life Anne Rice, the author and the woman. It is essential reading for students, fans, and anyone who wishes to better understand the stories of this masterful necromancer of words.


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From the hauntingly imaginative worlds of the supernatural to the dark sexuality of the truly erotic, the novels of Anne Rice have had the chilling power to connect with readers' deepest, most secret fantasies and have given rise to questions about the enigmatic author herself. Now, in this first full-length biography, emiment scholar Katherine Ramsland provides a revealin From the hauntingly imaginative worlds of the supernatural to the dark sexuality of the truly erotic, the novels of Anne Rice have had the chilling power to connect with readers' deepest, most secret fantasies and have given rise to questions about the enigmatic author herself. Now, in this first full-length biography, emiment scholar Katherine Ramsland provides a revealing portrait of Anne Rice, the woman; a history of the circumstances that led to the writing of her irresistible books of the macabe and the forbidden; and in-depth analysis of her major novels, including "Interview With the Vampire, the Vampire Lestat, The Witching Hour, " and the "Sleeping Beauty" trilogy. Here is the whole story of the young Anne Rice, born Howard Allen O'Brien in a Gothic-like New Orleans to a brilliant and doomed mother and complex father, who took his daughter for walks in the decaying cemeteries of the"Big Easy" of Anne's passionate love for poet Stan Rice that began in her teen years; of their married life in the turbulent San Francisco of the 1960s; and of her first efforts as a writer, which would climax in her daughter's death. At once disturbing and fascinating, this dramatic, informative account brings to vivid life Anne Rice, the author and the woman. It is essential reading for students, fans, and anyone who wishes to better understand the stories of this masterful necromancer of words.

30 review for Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Ward

    Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice by Katherine Ramsland (Plume 1992) (Biography). This is a biography of Anne Rice, best known as a writer of the supernatural; it was written by Katherine Ramsland, who obviously feels a huge affinity for Rice and her writing. Suffice it to say that Ramsland researched her subject exhaustively. This volume combines biographical notes with extensive plot summaries of each of Ms. Rice's books which had been written by the date this biography was original Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice by Katherine Ramsland (Plume 1992) (Biography). This is a biography of Anne Rice, best known as a writer of the supernatural; it was written by Katherine Ramsland, who obviously feels a huge affinity for Rice and her writing. Suffice it to say that Ramsland researched her subject exhaustively. This volume combines biographical notes with extensive plot summaries of each of Ms. Rice's books which had been written by the date this biography was originally published in 1991. This is a fun and informative read for Anne Rice fans. My rating: 7/10, finished 5/3/16.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Morse

    Anne Rice is an interesting subject but I felt this book spent too much time describing the plots to her books and not enough in depth about the woman herself.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    I believe I first read Anne Rice in my late teens and I'm pretty sure that I got the book as a gift from my dad, who doesn't really like fiction, but does his research when buying gifts and he knew that Rice's vampire books had been come really popular. I've never been much of a horror fan, but I was immediately in love with her work. Cry to Heaven became my favorite book ever. I sent a copy to my friend in Germany and she sent me back a copy of Patrick Suskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer I believe I first read Anne Rice in my late teens and I'm pretty sure that I got the book as a gift from my dad, who doesn't really like fiction, but does his research when buying gifts and he knew that Rice's vampire books had been come really popular. I've never been much of a horror fan, but I was immediately in love with her work. Cry to Heaven became my favorite book ever. I sent a copy to my friend in Germany and she sent me back a copy of Patrick Suskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, which then replaced Cry to Heaven as my favorite book. The over the top richness of her prose combined with the historical setting really hooked me. At this point I haven't read an Anne Rice book in at least 10 years (other than one of the newer books I gave up on), but I've had this biography laying around for at least 20 years and had heard Anne was pretty freaky so I decided to finally give it a try. It's extremely detailed. It takes each of her books (up to the point of writing) apart dissecting the plot, the characters, what Anne was trying to get across etc... And then it also includes what was going on in her life at the time. Anne was definitely not a follower, that's for sure, and her life was pretty interesting (hopefully it's still interesting). I remember when I bought this book someone telling me that she was "a total freak" and something about sex between her husband and her son. Glad to report that this "gossip" was exactly that. She did write porn novels involving BDSM and she also wrote novels in which older men were in strange relationships with children (like Lolita), AND she was really fascinated by gay men, but according this book, she never really got involved, at least publicly with any of the scandalous sex stuff and there's no mention of her even fantasizing about pedophilia. I would recommend this for hardcore Anne Rice fans only. I would have been satisfied with half the detailed analysis of the plots, characters etc....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Ihsan

    This was more like a book review of all the books Anne Rice had written, though there were a few chapters that were interesting--exploring subjects dear to Rice and why she wrote what she did.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Surreysmum

    [These notes were made in 1993.:] I have never been as rabid a fan of Anne Rice's work as some people I know, but I have read of enough of her, under her various pseudonyms, to realize that there would be some interest to me in her background, her mental processes, and the unfolding of her life, because we quite clearly have some attitudes and some obsessions that coincide. I was briefly suspicious, when I started the book, that "Katherine Ramsland" might turn out to be yet another "R" pseudonym [These notes were made in 1993.:] I have never been as rabid a fan of Anne Rice's work as some people I know, but I have read of enough of her, under her various pseudonyms, to realize that there would be some interest to me in her background, her mental processes, and the unfolding of her life, because we quite clearly have some attitudes and some obsessions that coincide. I was briefly suspicious, when I started the book, that "Katherine Ramsland" might turn out to be yet another "R" pseudonym (Katherine was the name of Anne's mother), but I eventually dismissed the notion that this was a cloaked autobiography on the grounds of style, as well as the quite candid-sounding quotations from Anne's relatives and friends, observations which could have been made to a biographer but hardly to an autobiographer. Ramsland is an academic by trade; she teaches philosophy, and appears by her blurb to have a strong interest in psychology and psychotherapy. Her style is pedestrian but readable, and the lines of analysis she takes are directed towards the understanding of Anne Rice rather than the understanding of the book under discussion, although I am far from being enough of a New Critic to take the line that the one will not enhance the other. In fact a book like this, written during the lifetime of and with the cooperation of the author, is one of the best arguments for biographical criticism I have seen in a long time. The connections made between events in Rice's life - the loss of her mother, the untimely death of her child, for instance - and the characterizations and structures of her fiction seem to me not only plausible but compelling, because they are not facile, but carefully qualified, and allowance is always made for the power of the creative mind and the faculty of rational choice. Ramsland reduces neither the fiction itself nor the deep and half-understood psychological needs and movements which find expression in it with glib pronouncements that "this equals that." Rice emerges as a strong character, one who battled her way out of a Catholic background and a family tradition of alcoholism, one who dealt with her own very present sensual feelings and sense of not conforming to gender type with a creative fascination with androgyny, trans-genderism and gay men generally. This, as you may imagine, interested me greatly. I was particularly entertained by a segment (p. 105) which spoke about Rice's fascination with gay men, long before she first published. "[Gay men:] inspired in her a strong feeling of kinship, of not fitting socially acceptable definitions. 'I felt that the terrific response I had to men physically must mean that I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body.' ... the interest was a natural extension of her tendency in high school to idealize equality and courage. Characters in her fantasy world were already 'coming out of the closet.' She saw homosexuality as a physical realization of that ideal and looked to gay men as figures that exhibited the erotic aspects of gender while transcending the negative aspects. A man who transcends gender, she felt, sees the world more clearly. Yet there was something about them that reached more deeply into her, that released her from becoming anchored in stereotypical feminine roles." There were a few other traits in Rice that I also identified with - she writes best when she writes fast, takes criticism very badly, does not willingly surrender the integrity of her ideas to other people's adaptations (her efforts at collaborative writing, for the screen, etc., have not worked out) and does not seem to be able to summon up any sort of false shame in connection with either the reading or the writing of sexually explicit material. Almost as interesting as the similarities were the differences - our backgrounds, for instance, are very different, and she is married and has had two children. That large part of her mental landscape which deals with the fear and overcoming of death is not yet a major part of mine, though I understand exactly what Ramsland means when she says that Rice is obsessed with the notion of a continuing witness, who makes the things (and people) witnessed real. I find, perhaps not surprisingly, that it is the period up to and including her early thirties where I found the most to identify with, and, just as I grew impatient with the books she wrote after that age, so too I found Ramsland's analysis of the progressions she was making after that age less interesting. Perhaps I should read it again in ten years! The book could not be more up-to-the-minute, by the way - it discusses projects all the way up to the end of 1992. She has apparently written a new script based on the Vampire stories - I wonder how much of the homoeroticism will be preserved?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gina M Jordan

    Another reason we need half stars. It's a solid 3.5 but not a 4. Only fans of Anne Rice will truly appreciate this biographies sometimes boring depth & repetition. For fans it's fascinating reading until about page 295 & then it loses steam or peters out. The last 45 actual pages (not counting all the filler including index & such), were nearly impossible to get through without falling asleep every 5 pages. I'm still glad I read it, though I'm very mixed about Rice as an author after Stan's deat Another reason we need half stars. It's a solid 3.5 but not a 4. Only fans of Anne Rice will truly appreciate this biographies sometimes boring depth & repetition. For fans it's fascinating reading until about page 295 & then it loses steam or peters out. The last 45 actual pages (not counting all the filler including index & such), were nearly impossible to get through without falling asleep every 5 pages. I'm still glad I read it, though I'm very mixed about Rice as an author after Stan's death & Anne's subsequent reversal on religion & her focus on Christ novels. This biography does make me want to go back & reread all the novels, except I know the seriously disillusioning all books in one conclusion I hated the first time around. If only it had focused more on Rice & less on minutiae, & included what's happened since this book came out, it might have been a better overall read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie H.

    This is a wonderful biography that, because of its ability to contextualize the different series, characters, and details in Rice's writing, convinced me to take the plunge into her work. I would love to have as in-depth an updated explanation of where Rice has subsequently gone--both with the Mayfair witches and in her turn in more recent years. If you have a friend, teenage child, or anyone who is embarking on Rice's early works, share this book with them! This is a wonderful biography that, because of its ability to contextualize the different series, characters, and details in Rice's writing, convinced me to take the plunge into her work. I would love to have as in-depth an updated explanation of where Rice has subsequently gone--both with the Mayfair witches and in her turn in more recent years. If you have a friend, teenage child, or anyone who is embarking on Rice's early works, share this book with them!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Renee Duprey

    I agree with Bruce Morse's review on here. I love her books that I have read so far and thus wasn't as bothered as he was about the fact that the author delved very deeply into the descriptions of Anne's books. I did however skim when I got bored with the descriptions of her books. I wish the author would have talked about the Anne's life in depth more. I agree with Bruce Morse's review on here. I love her books that I have read so far and thus wasn't as bothered as he was about the fact that the author delved very deeply into the descriptions of Anne's books. I did however skim when I got bored with the descriptions of her books. I wish the author would have talked about the Anne's life in depth more.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Anne Rice fan? If so, this is a must for your collection! Katherine Ramsland gives us insight on gothic writer Anne Rice and her vampires we all have come to love. Katherine Ramsland, also has a vampire and witches companion, which are a must. Her books and research are spot on and (again) truly a must for Anne Rice fans.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Engstrom

    Excellent biographical work on a very interesting individual.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Interesting, but a bit too detailed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    H.R.

    I'm not sure what to expect from biographies, but for some reason it felt like this one just had something missing... I'm not sure what to expect from biographies, but for some reason it felt like this one just had something missing...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    A lengthy and detailed narrative of Rice's life experience and how it interweaves into her writing. A must read for fans and writers! A lengthy and detailed narrative of Rice's life experience and how it interweaves into her writing. A must read for fans and writers!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hoff

    This biography reads as easy as Anne's novels -- it's great insight into what shaped her imagination. This biography reads as easy as Anne's novels -- it's great insight into what shaped her imagination.

  15. 4 out of 5

    angela thorpe

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alisson Goldberg

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicollette

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shaphrodra

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jan Marie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip Ho

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kat

  24. 5 out of 5

    Krissi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Cassingham

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leon Argamasilla

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  29. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam

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