Gothic review

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‘To understand the chronicles they must be read as gay’ , at least this is the incredibly bold statement made by George Haggerty in his chapter on Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture in his book Queer Gothic. There is no denying that Anne Rice’s Vampires have a lot to do with homosexuality and Haggerty’s highlighting this is in no way a 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 Vampire Chronicles.
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 as a ‘predator’, but his relationships are not exclusively homosexual. He is a vampire that merely
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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 explore sexual deviancy, but are always ultimately punished in doing so. The homosexual parentage of Louis and Lestat to Claudia and of Armand to Sybelle and Benji are both destroyed in their own way. Claudia and Louis’ final rejection of Lestat and Armand’s failure in being able to protect Sybelle and Benji from Marius, are both examples of homosexual families being explored and then finally being punished for going against the accepted social norm of 20th century culture. This supports Haggerty’s claim that readers want to ‘explore unauthorized desires and at the same time see them bleed’, by exploring and then destroying homosexual relationships repeatedly throughout the collection. When reading the characters as ‘homosexual’ as Haggerty suggests, this punishment dynamic makes it unavoidable to find truth in Haggerty’s claim that Rice
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