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Artikel mit dem Stichwort ‘L.J. Smith’

Vampires in Pop Culture: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

Donnerstag, 30. Dezember, 2010


I first wrote this analysis of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles in March 2004 for a seminar on literary theories but the original intent to write it was born during my earlier stay in Kyoto the year before. During that exchange year I started to understand a lot about the themes present in popular literature and it was also when I wrote my original interpretation of Final Fantasy X which I later reworked for publication on this site (German).

I had rented the movie adaption of Queen of the Damned despite the bad reviews and it turned out every bit as bad as its reputation but I nevertheless wanted to form my own opinion on it so I watched it anyway. It was still very much worth watching because when I thought about what was missing from the movie I really began to understand the actual depth of the original novel. The way Akasha is defeated, instinct ripping off ratio’s head, discovering this symbolism was the real starting point for this analysis.

The paper originally was titled „A Lacanian Approach to The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice“ and was supposed to be an application of Lacan’s theories to an actual piece of literature. I had read up a bit on C. G. Jung for my FFX analysis and wasn’t really much of a fan of Freud. But although Lacan is Freudian I found some common ideas with Jung in his text which gave me further grounds to showcase the psychoanalytical approach already evident in Rice’s book. Basically I’m just spelling out what is said in the quotations already, using Lacan’s lingo.

This version is more strongly modified than my later Ghost Dog analysis and I didn’t stop at implementing the corrections by my lecturer Andrea Lutz but also tried to explore the meta-novel aspects of the Vampire Chronicles, as suggested by her. I added a short summary of Lacan’s ideas as well which took some rereading of his text “The Insistence of the Letter in the Unconscious”. This is also why this article took so long to be ready for publication on this site, with Ghost Dog I could basically copy and paste the paper I had handed in years ago only making minor corrections.

I also want to note that in one of the seminars I took following writing this paper I had the pleasure to meet four different students named Claudia all taking the same seminar. Claudia is by no means a rare name but this still was a curious coincidence considering the role of the character of the same name from Rice’s novel.

Riddel in the Forest

Riddel in the Forest

While Rice has given up on her vampire novels, thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Joss Whedon and the more recent Twilight by Stephenie Meyer vampires continue to be a mainstay in popular culture and they have a similar importance in Japanese comics and games as well, which of course is my focus on this site. In fact there is a shōjo manga by HAGIO Moto with a similar constellation of two male vampires raising a girl in one of its episodes. The Poe Family (Pō no ichizoku) by HAGIO predates Interview with the Vampire by a few years but Rice’s original short story was still some years earlier than the episode with the vampires‘ adoptive daughter in HAGIO’s manga.1 Serialization of The Poe Family started in March 1972 and ended in June 1976. The episode Rideru: Mori no naka was published in April 1975. Rice started work on her novel Interview with the Vampire in 1973 and it was published in 1976. It would be far-fetched to assume that they influenced each other given the temporal and language barriers but maybe they share a common influence that made them both write about male vampire couples raising a girl.

It’s interesting to note that in the Japanese variant of this story it’s the male vampires that are condemned to stay children forever and watch their adopted daughter grow older and older. In Rice’s story the adopted daughter is also turned vampire and thus denied her coming of age which her male parents had already passed when they quit the life of the living.

Today’s vampire literature still shows strong traces of Rice’s and HAGIO’s earlier works which is why I decided to juxtapose my analysis with some clips from Buffy and other recent vampire stories for this republication. They’re not directly related to each other but there are common underlying themes, some of which also contributed to this analysis. I was watching the end of Buffy season 6 specifically during my stay in Kyoto.

(mehr …)

  1. Serialization of The Poe Family started in March 1972 and ended in June 1976. The episode Rideru: Mori no naka was published in April 1975. Rice started work on her novel Interview with the Vampire in 1973 and it was published in 1976. []