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Anne Rice backs equal rights for women to enjoy erotica
Excerpt from The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty | Penguin Random House Canada
As Anne Rice's erotic retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale is re-released in the wake of the Fifty Shades of Grey sales bonanza, the novelist has spoken out about how women have just as much right as men to enjoy sexual fantasies. Rice first published the Sleeping Beauty trilogy in the s under the pseudonym AN Roquelaure because she "needed the anonymity of the pen name to write freely, to pursue an authentic erotica without being inhibited or self-conscious". The books, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Release and Beauty's Punishment, are an erotic version of the fairytale, in which the princess is awakened with much more than a kiss and the prince's reward for ending her years of sleep is "Beauty's complete and total enslavement to him". All three are being reissued by Penguin's US imprint Plume this week, with a first print run of , copies, new covers and a new foreword by the Interview with the Vampire author in which she lays out a feminist argument for erotica. And that includes for me the right of every woman to write out her sexual fantasies and to read books filled with sexual fantasies that she enjoys," said Rice. Although she criticised what she called "hackwork pornography", which is "written by those who don't share the fantasy, and they slip into hideous violence and ugliness, thinking the market wants all that, when the market never really did", Rice pointed out that men have always enjoyed all kinds of pornography, and asked: "How can it be wrong for women to have the same right? We're sexual beings!
Anne Rice re-releases her erotic trilogy
The novels describe explicit sexual adventures of the female protagonist Beauty and the male characters Alexi, Tristan and Laurent, featuring both maledom and femdom scenarios amid vivid imageries of bisexuality , homosexuality, ephebophilia and pony play. In , the abridged audio versions of the first three books were published in cassette form. Neither of them gave her the critical acclaim or the commercial success of her first novel; the main complaints about The Feast of All Saints were that it was too heavy and dense to read easily,  and most of the reviews for Cry to Heaven were so savagely negative that Rice felt devastated. Roquelaure from the French word Roquelaure , referring to a cloak worn by men in the 18th-century Europe.
I've always loved the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, and found something erotic at its core. The Prince awakens Beauty with a kiss. And I thought, all right, what if he brought a kind of liberation, an induction into a world of bizarre yet irresistible delights?