December 13, 2008

Anne Rice

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Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic and religious-themed books. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.[1][2][3][4]

Early years

Rice spent most of her early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, which forms the background against which most of her stories take place. She was the second daughter in a Catholic Irish-American family; Rice's sister, the late Alice Borchardt, also became a noted genre author. She has a brother named Jack.

About her unusual given name, Rice said: "My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do."

Rice became "Anne" on her first day of school, when a nun asked her what her name was. She told her "Anne", having felt it was a pretty name. Her mother, who was with her, let it go without correcting her, knowing how self-conscious her daughter was of her real name. From that day on, everyone she knew addressed her as "Anne".

Her first child died at the age of five from leukemia in 1972. Her second child with Stan, her late husband of 41 years, is her thirty-year-old son Christopher. Her husband Stan was a poet and a painter. Some of his work can be found in Rice's novel The Queen Of The Damned. Anne has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976.

Writing career

In 1958, when Rice was 17, her father moved the family to north Texas, taking up residence in Richardson. Her mother had died three years before of alcoholism. Rice met her future husband while they were both students at Richardson High School. She began college at Texas Woman's University in Denton but relocated with Stan to San Francisco where Anne attended San Francisco State University and obtained a B.A. in Political Science. "I'm a totally conservative person", she later told the New York Times (November 7, 1988). "In the middle of Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, I was typing away while everybody was dropping acid and smoking grass. I was known as my own square." She would not return to New Orleans until 1989.[5]

Rice's daughter Michele was born on September 21, 1966 and died of leukemia on August 5, 1972. Their son Christopher Rice, now a novelist, was born March 11, 1978.

She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976. This book would be the first in Rice's popular Vampire Chronicles series, which includes 1985's The Vampire Lestat and 1988's The Queen of the Damned. Rice has also published adult-oriented fiction under the pen name Anne Rampling, and has written explicit sado-masochistic erotica as A.N. Roquelaure.

Her fiction is often described as lush and descriptive, and her characters' sexuality is fluid, often displaying homoerotic feelings towards each other. Rice said that the bisexuality was what she was looking for in her characters; a love beyond gender especially with the Vampire Chronicles because the vampires were not of human society, therefore did not go by the expectations of that society. She also weaves philosophical and historic themes into the dense pattern of her books. To her admirers, Rice's books are among the best in modern popular fiction, possessing those elements that create a lasting presence in the literary canon. To her critics, her novels are baroque, "low-brow pulp" and redundant. A critical analysis of Rice's work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001).

Return to Catholicism

In 1998, after dabbling in Mormonism and spending most of her adult life as a self-described atheist, Rice returned to her Roman Catholic faith, which she had not practiced since she was 15. In October 2004, as she reaffirmed her Catholic faith, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would "write only for the Lord." She called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, her first novel in this genre, the beginning of a trilogy that will chronicle the life of Jesus.

In an interview with Christianity Today, headlined "Interview with a Penitent", Rice declared that she will never again write another vampire novel, saying; "I would never go back, not even if they say, 'You will be financially ruined; you've got to write another vampire book.' I would say no. I have no choice. I would be a fool for all eternity to turn my back on God like that." Some of her fans reacted with shock to the news of her religious and literary conversion, admonishing her in magazine articles, internet weblogs and reader reviews found on the web. Rice responded in a post on Amazon.com (see below) that stated: "And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!"

However in an interview with TIME Rice made a comment that she may write one more novel in the series which she confirmed on her website that she may or may not make the book, but if she did it would be a Christian novel with a redemption theme involving Lestat and the Talamasca.[6] She later changed her mind yet again and issued a statement on her website denying she would write such a book.[7]

In October 2008, she released the autobiography Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, detailing her Catholic upbringing and her eventual return to Catholicism. In it the 67-year-old Rice describes the two decades she spent writing books on vampires, demons and witches as a prelude: "To be able to take the tools, the apprenticeship, whatever I learned from being a vampire writer, or whatever I was — to be able to take those tools now and put them in the service of God is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity. And I hope I can redeem myself in that way. I hope that the Lord will accept the books I am writing now."[8] [9][10]

Leaving New Orleans

Rice discovered she had Type 1 diabetes when she went into a diabetic coma in December 1998.

In 2002, Stan Rice died after a long illness. In her subsequent depression, Rice's weight rose to 254 pounds (115 kg). In response to sleep apnea and other weight-related problems, Rice had gastric bypass surgery in 2003.

On January 30, 2004, having already put the largest of her three homes up for sale, Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans. She cited living alone since the death of her husband and her son's moving out of State as the reasons. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal", said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." Though she left New Orleans prior to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and none of her former New Orleans properties took on water, she remained an advocate for relief for the city.

Rice may also have wished for more privacy from the constant attentions of her fans, who were known to camp out in front of her house; up to 200 or more would gather to see her leave for church on Sundays.

In spring 2005 Rice moved to La Jolla, California, to be nearer her son, Christopher. She moved less than a year later to Rancho Mirage for a warmer climate and a "simpler life".

Amazon.com incident

On September 6, 2004, Rice posted a reply to a number of negative reviews that had appeared on Amazon.com regarding Blood Canticle. She titled her reply, "From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here." This post generated a great deal of publicity online – partly because authors rarely post or respond to reviews on Amazon, and partly because of the tone and nature of her text, which was considered by many members of the writing community to be bitter, angry and aggressive. [11] Many previous reviews had criticized the quality of writing in Blood Canticle as lazy or shoddy; when Rice replied by writing an article, the incident became fodder for weblogs and Internet sites. Following this incident, whether at the author's request or at Amazon's own volition, the comment and several others were later removed. Rice's own discussion on the incident is available on her website.

Adaptations

Film

In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a relatively faithful motion picture adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, from Rice's own screenplay. The movie starred Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as the guilt-ridden Louis and was a breakout role for young Kirsten Dunst as the deceitful little Claudia.

A second film adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles came out in 2002. Starring Stuart Townsend as the infamous Lestat and singer Aaliyah, the movie combined incidents from the second and third books in the series but released under the title of the third book, The Queen of the Damned. The plot was substantially altered from that of the book, and the film was poorly received by fans and critics alike.

A 1994 film titled Exit to Eden, based loosely on the book Rice published as Anne Rampling, starred Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. The work transformed from a love story into a police comedy, possibly due to the explicit S&M themes of the book.

The Feast Of All Saints was made into a miniseries in 2001 by director Peter Medak.

Plans to adapt Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy into a twelve-hour miniseries to be aired on NBC were dropped after a change of studio head and subsequent loss of interest in the project.

A film version of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt was planned but later canceled.

Theatre

On April 25, 2006, the musical Lestat, based on Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway after having its world premiere in San Francisco, California in December 2005. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, it was the inaugural production of the newly established Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures.

Despite Rice's own overwhelming approval and praise, the show received mostly poor reviews by critics and disappointing attendance. Lestat closed a month later on May 28, 2006, after just 33 previews and 39 regular performances.

In 1997, a ballet adaptation of Interview with the Vampire premiered in Prague.

Fan fiction

Rice has an adamant stance against fan fiction based on her work, releasing a statement on April 7, 2000 that prohibited all such efforts. This caused the removal of thousands of fanfics from the popular FanFiction.Net website.

Music inspired by Rice's novels

Cradle of Filth briefly includes Lestat in the song "Libertina Grimm" as "Count Lestat".

Sting got the inspiration for his song "Moon over Bourbon Street" from Interview with the Vampire.

Guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai states in liner notes for his album The Elusive Light and Sound volume 1, that his song "Loveblood" Was inspired by the film and the fact that he wished he was an actor so he could play the role. Alternative rock band Concrete Blonde's song "Bloodletting (the Vampire Song)", the title track from the Bloodletting CD, is based on Rice's The Vampire Lestat.

The Australian pop band Savage Garden found their name in The Vampire Lestat, in which Lestat describes the world as "the savage garden".

The metalcore band Atreyu declares in the song "The Crimson", "I'm an Anne Rice novel come to life."

Punk/goth band The Damned recorded a song called "The Dog" about the child vampire Claudia from Interview with the Vampire on their 1982 album Strawberries.

The Italian band Theatres des Vampires is named after a location featured in several books of The Vampire Chronicles. Their 1999 album is called The Vampire Chronicles.

post hardcore band Aiden wrote and recorded a song entitled "The Last Sunrise" - a lot of the lyrics of said song relate directly to the first book of The Vampire Chronicles, Interview With The Vampire.

Malice Mizer, a Japanese rock band based heavily on French culture, uses the phrase "Drink from me and live forever" in their song "Transylvania". "Drink from me and live forever" is a phrase from the first book Interview With the Vampire.

Mexican band Santa Sabina [1] dedicates a song to Rice's vampire character Louis: "Una canción para Louis"

Psytrance project Talamasca was named after the secret society in both the Vampire chronicles and the Mayfair Witches series. This is a solo project by the French musician Cedric Dassulle, which also calls himself DJ Lestat.

Japanese visual kei rock band Versailles first album, Noble, is subtitled "Vampires Chronicle" and also not clearly announced, the sixth song is entitled "After Claudia"...

Italian gothic rock group Last Minute's debut album, Burning Theater, was concieved as an unofficial soundtrack for Interview with the Vampire, including the title track and two others, all focusing heavily on the death of Claudia.


Source: Wikipedia

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