Gothic Review

1052 words - 5 pages

‘To understand the chronicles they must be read as gay’ , at least this is the incredibly bold statement made by George Haggerty in his essay on Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture. There is no denying that Anne Rice’s Vampires have much to do with homosexuality and Haggerty’s highlighting this is in no way new criticism, but the claim that is must be read as gay is entirely dismissive of the many other sexual paradigms that exist within the collection.
To begin with, his referral of Lestat as a ‘gay predator’ seems unfair in its definition. The fact of his being a vampire automatically asserts him a ‘predator’, but his relationships are not exclusively homosexual. He is a vampire that ...view middle of the document...

The Vampires bisexuality within their ‘race’ seems to display that sex is just an element of vampire interaction. Lestat refers to Nicolas, Louis, Akasha and Gabrielle as ‘lovers’ at different points in the series. All of these relationships have familial undertones as well as sexual. Nicolas and Louis as his fledglings owe to him their ‘reborn’ undead life and so this suits him into a fatherly role. Akasha and Gabrielle have maternal status with Lestat, Akasha as the mother of all Vampires and Gabrielle as his natural mother. This incestuous dynamic that exists within these family unit relations is largely suggestive that vampire sexuality is not interested with gender at all. As Haggerty says, Lestat represents ‘every taboo’ and so it seems ironic that his discussion of the character has left most of his other sexual activities out.
Despite his neglect of other sexuality in his demand that the book must be read as homosexual, Haggerty’s work still manages to make some incredibly compelling points as it always does. His argument that the novels speak to cultures ‘secret fear’ of homosexuality is something that has much evidence to support it. What is interesting is seeing how the novels written after Haggerty’s essay support this claim. In the earlier novels his main companions are male, Nicholas, Louis, Armand and David are all characters whom his relationships with are heavy with homoerotic undertones. These relationship dynamics point to Lestat having a preference for male company over female. In his male-on-male relationships he is largely the dominant one, but the maternal nature of his female relationships place him as seeming more afraid when it comes to women. Yet, in Blood Canticle, written five years after Haggerty’s essay, it is Rowan who Lestat finally and selflessly loves – selflessness not being an attribute we have known greatly in his character until this point. As Haggerty says Rice is ‘eroticizing the gay man’ whilst at the same time undermining it by portraying the homosexual relationships as heavily sexual, violent and deviant in comparison to the more nurturing, romantic relationship Lestat has with Rowan.
The Vampires in the novels...

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