Prepare yourself for an intellectually intense two-and-a-half months worth of discussion, revolving around our favorite feckless vampire price!
“Turn your two eyes
This way and see this people, your own Romans.
Here is Caesar, and all the line of Iulus,
All who shall one day pass under the dome
Of the great sky: this is the man, this one,
Of whom so often you have heard the promise,
Caesar Augustus, son of the deified,
Who shall bring once again an Age of Gold
To Latium, to the land where Saturn reigned
In early times.”
(Travel into the Underworld; Aeneas’ father Anchises, who speaks in-depth about Aeneas’ heroic destiny to be the purveyor of the “Golden Era,” for Rome)
“The Cross is not a shadow of death, but a sign of progress.” (Teilhard de Chardin)
How Discussions will work? I don’t have the time to spare to do the type of video chat based discussions anymore. Logistically-speaking, it just won’t work. So, all discussions will mostly be based here on this blog,where you will be able to respond to the weekly discussion posts, being posted here every Thursday. Discussions all week, though, will be taking place directly on the Lestat Book Coven Facebook Group Page. There are over 2,000 members there now, discussing a myriad number of different topics. These discussions, due to the civility and polite enthusiasm of the coven members, have been really wonderful, and so far problem-free (I hope I’m not speaking too soon, or cursing the page now).
Below, you will find details about our weekly reading assignments, along with the relevant discussion questions that relate directly with the reading. Answering these questions are not required for participation in this group ;these reading discussions are mostly here for those that prefer structure of some kind to guide/organize their discussions. I personally need some form of structure, to encourage me to make the required posts, to keep the flow of discussion from becoming prematurely stagnant.
OBVIOUS SPOILER WARNING: I know many people get very chiding, when it comes to yelling at you over spoilers, but I am not going to reiterate this point too much, as anyone seeing the words “discussion” coupled with Prince Lestat should already know not to read any spoilers about a book they may not have had the chance to read.
Nonetheless, I’ll still try to put banner warnings of “spoilers ahead!” for the benefit of not having someone, again, reprimand me via the comments section below about spoilers.
ASSIGNMENT DETAILS: For this first week, you are only to read up to PAGE 32 (in the hardcover US edition), which includes the first two sections of Part 1 of the novel: (1) The Voice, (2) Benji Mahmoud, and (3) Fareed and Seth. There are five optional questions below that you are encouraged to discuss on the Lestat Book Coven Page. Don’t put Spoiler Warnings on them, as everyone should, at this point, again not need additional reminder of a clear point. It becomes tedious to have to space everything appropriately just to protect or spare everyone that inadvertently sees one. It’s a little silly at this point, nearly two weeks after the release for them to remain.
(1).How is the beginning section (preceding the narrative), Blood Genesis, written as a vampire subversion of the Jewish scripture creation story, from Genesis? Does the title of this section insinuate or suggest anything about Anne Rice’s artistic purpose, in writing this series, to somehow provide a more extensive chapter of the new paradigm shift going on for vampires, which occurred after Lestat exploded onto the musical scene in the eighties, and reawakened the older vampires? What is your understanding of the word “Genesis?”
(2).What are your first impressions of the first section, the voice? Is there an intended ambiguity behind the choice of Anne Rice’s title for this series, which somehow hints at the deeper purpose of this new installment of the Vampire Chronicles? Why do you think Anne Rice chose this point, as a way to bridge the large logical gaps in trying to piece together the more incoherent chunks in the mythos of her series? And in psychological terms, what is the metaphorical meaning behind a doppelganger,and is this a form of foreshadowing, to suggest a potential psychological marriage to occur later in the series?
(3). In Virgil’s The Aeneid (something I’ll be bringing in more throughout our discussions of Prince Lestat) dreams, visions, voices heard are ways of more transcendent, more powerful, but altogether puzzling/enigmatic forces to disturb the main hero of the story, inciting or subtly leading the hero to carry out some kind of sacred duty that they’re destined for? There is a lot of subtle discussion about fate/ free-will in the Vampire Chronicles, and fate/ destiny seem to be fused with paradigm shifts in Prince Lestat,where the story almost implies, at this point, that Lestat is destined somehow to carry the legacy of vampire-kind into the new age, much like the main character in The Aeneid is fate to help forge ahead, and bring Rome into existence. Just ponder these things, and then respond to how you feel about this thus far, from the first 32 or so pages of Prince Lestat.
(4). Science emerges as something that plays a stronger role in the Vampire Chronicles. Fareed and Seth
are the representative scientists (“mad” geniuses) in this story, who the older, less scientifically-inclined vampires react with the same skepticism that 19th century readers of Frankenstein must have reacted to the machinations of the gothic tragic character of Victor Frankenstein. In The Wolf Gift, there was some classic villainy attached to the scientist character, and there was also some strange mystique behind the science in the Mayfair Witch Trilogy. Yet, the science in Prince Lestat, as seen through Fareed and Seth, in this early section, seems more complex, in terms of the ethicality of their motives behind what they’re trying to do with advancing the scientific knowledge of vampires. In this section, do you think they have more ulterior motives than they’re letting on? What do you think Anne Rice intends to do with bringing science into her story, at this point? How does she subvert/emulate the trope of “mad scientists,” as utilized in other Gothic Horror/ Fiction novels?
(4) Many have said that the internet was something that proved the beginning steps towards humanity’s first fulfillment of striving to reach towards the omega point, a term coined by Jesuit priest/scientist Teilhard De Chardin, speaking about the evolutionary trajectory of human progression towards God. In more secular terms, we can just speak of paradigm shifts, advancement in technology, and an emergent globalized sense of identity. Anne Rice reflects this emergence of a new kind of psychology self-identity of vampires, in a world where the internet can create some form of simulated collective consciousness, through the power of Benji’s web-based radio show. For us, how do you think the internet, social media has revolutionized our own social, political, cultural identities? For the vampires, how do you think internet is changing their psychological outlook, and helping them to grow beyond the more disparaging ideas of themselves, as monsters?
I’ll probably be discussing one of these five questions, in an upcoming discussion post, set to appear this coming Thursday, November 20th. As always, feel free to discuss any of these questions here in the comment section for this post, or the Lestat Book Coven Facebook Group Page.