Monday, November 15, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and George Haggerty's "Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture"

Please Interview with the Vampire and read George Haggerty’s essay “Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture” (on D2L). Below are a few questions we'll be exploring this week. Feel free to draw from them, or to develop your own questions. You should also feel free to respond to another student's post.

Your blogs will be due on Wednesday at 11:59 pm.

Your comments on other student blogs will be due by FRIDAY at 11:59.

In addition to your blogs and comments, you also must post in one or more of the discussion forums on my blog by Friday at 11:59 pm. You do NOT have to post in all of the forums, but I will be assessing you on how well you are able to respond to the various prompts and each others' ideas. Remember that Forum C is an open forum, so if there is something you would like to discuss that hasn't been addressed by me or another student, please post there.

1) On page six, Haggerty asks, “How do we explain the eroticization of Rice's figures of the night? What is it about the male-male seductions of Rice's work that places them on bestseller lists and makes them the staple of shopping malls and supermarket check-out lines? What makes these tales of pulsing bodily fluids the hottest topic in suburban as well as urban US culture?” How does he attempt to answer these questions in his essay? What do you think of his response to Anne Rice’s works? Do you agree or disagree with his analysis and why?

2) On page eight, Haggerty writes, “Readers of The Vampire Chronicles are offered a conflicted relation to Lestat and his posturing. They are like the audience in the Theatre of the Vampires: they desire a voyeuristic participation in something they want to believe and disbelieve at the same time. Their attraction to these creatures of the night is also a repulsion. They need to witness the homoerotics of this world and to reject its power at the same time. This is an uncanny relation but also a tremendously powerful one.” Do you agree with his assessment? Have our forays into vampire literature been a type of “theatre”? Read back through pages 213-224 and the scene at the Théâtre de Vampires. How are we as readers placed in a position that is voyeuristic and “forbidden”?

3) Haggerty sees Rice’s novels as symptomatic of our culture’s discussion over “the AIDS crisis, the crisis over ‘family values,’ and the collapse of the war on drugs with its attendant militarization of civilian life and war on male potency (10). What does he mean by these claims and how does he set out to support them? Do you agree with this reading? Why or why not?

4) Haggerty writes, “Dead brothers abound in these novels: Anne Rice seems to find in these deaths the source of imaginative life, the beginning of the tale, its generative force” (13). The film version of Interview begins with Brad Pitt mourning the loss of his wife and child. How does that change, in your opinion, the meaning of the novel?

5) For this blog, do a google search on some key terms such as “postmodernism” and the “theatre of the absurd.” How do you think these artistic and philosophical movements inform Rice’s work?

6) On page 284, Armand calls Louis “the spirit of the age.” What does Armand mean by that? What is Louis’ response? Is a part of what attracts us to the character Louis is that he represents some “spirit” or zeitgeist of our age? What is that?

7) What do you think of the ending to this novel? Imagine you were the boy interviewing Louis. Would your response to Louis’ story be the same? Why or why not?

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