Sexuality and gender in contemporary women's Gothic fiction - Angela Carter's and Anne Rice's Vampires: Angela Carter's and Anne Rice's Vampires

Master thesis English OPEN
Fernanda Sousa Carvalho (2009)
  • Publisher: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Subject: Carter, Angela, 1940-1992. Crítica e interpretaçao Teses. | Rice, Anne, 1941- Crítica e interpretação Teses. | Sexo na literatura Teses. | Sexo (Psicologia) Teses. | Mulheres na literatura Teses. | Ficção Escritoras Crítica e interpretação Teses. | Relações de gênero Teses. | Vampiros na literatura Teses. | Realismo fantástico (Literatura) Teses. | Renascimento gótico (Literatura) Teses.

xxx In this thesis, I provide an analysis of Angela Carter's and Anne Rice's works based on their depiction of vampires. My corpus is composed by Carter's short stories 'The Loves of Lady Purple' and 'The Lady of the House of Love' and by Rice's novels The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned. My analysis of this corpus is based on four approaches: a comparison between Carter's and Rice's works, supported by their common use of vampire characters; an investigation of how this use consists of a particular way of exploring gothic elements, related to the contemporary context; an identification of the mechanisms through which this use of vampire characters conveys discourses on the issues of sexuality and gender that take in the 1970s and 1980s; and an investigation of the possibility for the vampire characters to express such discourses, in terms of their symbolisms. I demonstrate here that Rice and Carter explore the potential of abjection of the vampire and the subversive potential of a gothic representation of life experiences to question and subvert in their works patriarchal ideologies about the issues of sexuality and gender. This strategy of questioning and subversion is informed by the debates about these two issues in late-twentieth century, a period marked by the development of theories about sexuality and gender, by political movements towards sexual and gender freedom, and by the eminence of the AIDS epidemic that influenced the direction followed by these theories and movements. My analysis of Carter's and Rice's works demonstrates that, although they are different in their focuses and concerns, both authors represent, through their vampires, discourses against the imposition of gender roles and of sexualities by patriarchal societies, reflecting the contemporary view of gender and sexuality as constructed, complex, and fluid categories. In this sense, their works can be said to characterize a contemporary gothic fiction written by women.
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