Rice, Anne: Violin
(researched by Marian Siljeholm )

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Anne Rice. Violin. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1997. Worldcat OCLC #42396768 (Control Number given to bibliographic records in WorldCat) Copyright: Anne O'Brien Rice

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First American edition published in cloth (hardcover) binding by Alfred A. Knopf. Inc. New York. Published simultaneously in Canada by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

[10][1-2] 3-289 [5] Leaves: 152

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

No named editor, but dedication in introduction: (see below, question 11).

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

N.A, no such illustrations present.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

Book is hardcover but without dust jacket. Readability is excellent with large margins and clean pages. Chapters are not named but numbered in large embellished script, which contrasts with the stark font of the text. First two words of each chapter consistently capitalized to stand out from rest. Book Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.7 x 1.9 inches Approximate Weight: 2.2 pounds Text: Book set in Janson typeface, a subset of the larger Roman type family. The text measures 9.525R (See below, transcribed note on the type) - The size (vertical) of the text is 5/32 of an inch or 0.15625 of an inch, which equates to 3.96875 millimeters. - The size (horizontal) of the text is 2/32 of an inch or 0.0625 of an inch, which equates to 1.5875 in millimeters. - My subjective response to the readability features is very positive. The size of margin surrounding the text is 28/32 or .875 of an inch, which equates to 22.225 millimeters. The type wear is minimal, as the overall condition of the book is very good. There is no visible cracking of the letters. The spacing between the lines is 4/32 or .125 of an inch, which equates to 3.175 millimeters. - Running headers are here italicized, with only odd page numbers shown in middle at top of pages. - Chapter headings have no name, only a number, and are also italicized. - Page and chapter numbers include embellished ornamentation - The embellishment on the ends of the letters leads one to believe that the chapter and individual page headings are published in a Serif font. Transcribed from A NOTE ON THE TYPE at the back of the book: This book was set in Janson, a typeface long thought to have been made by the Dutchman Anton Janson, who was a practicing typefounder in Leipzig during the years 1668-1687. However, it has been conclusively demonstrated that these types are actually the work of Nicholas Kis (1650-1702), a Hungarian, who most probably learned his trade from the master Dutch typefounder Dirk Voskens. The type is an excellent example of the influential and sturdy Dutch types that prevailed in England up to the time William Caslon (1692-1766) developed his own incomparable designs from them. Composed by Creative Graphics, Inc., Allentown, Pennsylvania Printed and bound by Quebecor Printing Fairfield, Pennsylvania Designed by Virginia Tan

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

Paper in excellent condition though not surprising considering relative youth of book. Any evident wear is minimal and consistent throughout.

11 Description of binding(s)

- In terms of the binding: the material is cloth (hardcover) across back spine, but only across half of front and back covers of book, at which point it becomes paper covered cardboard (probably for money saving purposes). - The book color is black. - Binding is not signed or initialed. - Gold stamping on book spine is embellished with ornamentation ANNE RICE (horizontal) Violin (vertical) - No dust jacket present on current copy, though present on original 1997 first edition. - Stiff paper binding, charcoal grey with elegant gold embellished script. - Emboldened horizontal type for author with cursive title aligning at a perpendicular non-bisecting angle. Transcription of front cover: N.A. Blank front Transcription of spine: ANNE RICE | Violin - No interior illustrations or illustrated endpapers. - Besides horizontal stamping, no transcribed information found on the spine, front or back cover. - With regard to ornamentation, in addition to gold embellishment on back spine and on top of every other interior page, book also contains emblem of Borzoi dog, above publisher name and date (trademark of Knoph) - Addressing: No named editor, but dedication in introduction: Annelle Blanchard M.D, Rosario Tafaro, Karen and as walkways and forever Stan and Christopher and Michele Rice John Preston Victoria Wilson In tribute to the talent of Isaac Stern and Leila Josefowicz

12 Transcription of title page


13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

- Exact information not found. However information regarding manuscript holdings for other works by Rice under the pseudo name of Ramsland (Katherine M.) Papers (also notably the name of another less known author with whom Rice worked on several works), found via LSU Libraries Special Collections courtesy of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. - No evidence that Violin's manuscript is here yet.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

- Inscribed on back fly leaf: Detailed Description: A Note on The Type. - Colophon present on backside of title page. - As far as Copy-specific information, there is book plate on the back of the front cover that identifies that book was purchased with funding from an NEH challenge grant. Currently Part of circulating collection at Brandeis University. On back cover is library-specific tracking information. - This is not an inscribed copy, nor is it a dedication copy. Unusual typological details at beginning and end of novel: Page preceding title page includes an epigraph: "And the Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Ghost" Title Page: VIOLIN (cursive) Following: Proem -STORY- Following final sentence: The End finished: May 14, 1996 1:50 a.m. second run: May 20, 1996 9:25 a.m. last run: Jan. 7, 1997 2:02 a.m. Anne Rice

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

Assumed typographical error, Worldcat.org lists a 1991 issue, a technical impossibility as the book was released in 1997. 1997: 1. Violin by Anne Rice 291 pages Soft cover Signed by Anne Rice, in red ink, on the title page (beneath her printed name). Publisher's information sheet laid into the book. First edition, advance reading copy (issued prior to trade edition) Bookseller Inventory # 39830 ISBN 10: 0679774440 / ISBN 13: 9780679774440 2. Violin by Anne Rice English. KNOPF DOUBLEDAY PUBLISHING GROUP Subset of Random House 1st Trade Edition (1997): Simultaneous first editions published in Toronto and New York. 289 pp 3. Violin by Anne Rice Large Print Edition Identical cover art, with 'LARGE PRINT EDITION' emblazoned across top of cover Book bound in paper 451 pp Book dimensions: 6 x 9" 4.Violin by Anne O'Brien Rice eBook : Document : Fiction English 1997 1st trade ed New York : Alfred A. Knopf

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Two identical simultaneous printings issued 1997 via Random House in association with Knopf distributors in Toronto and New York.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

1. Violin by Anne Rice Publisher: London : Chatto & Windus, 1997. Edition/Format: Book: English 2. Violin by Anne Rice Book English 1997 New York, NY Ballantine 372 pages Bestseller inventiry # 12633 Binding: soft cover 3. Violin by Anne Rice Publisher: London (GB): Arrow, 1997. Edition/Format: Book: Fiction: English 4. Violin by Anne Rice Publisher: New Orleans: B.E. Trice, 1997 Edition/Format: Book: Fiction : English : 1st ed 5. Violin by Anne Rice Book : Fiction English 1997 London (GB): Arrow MASS MARKET EDITION, AS DEDUCED BY SMALLER, STANDARDIZED SIZE 6. Violin by Anne Rice Large print book: Fiction English 1997 NY Alfred A. Knopf 7. Violin by Anne Rice Book English 1997 London : Chatto & Windus 8. Violin by Anne Rice Large print book : Fiction English 1997 1st large print ed New York: Random House Large Print in association with Alred A. Knopf, Inc. 9. Violin by Anne Rice eBook : Document : Fiction Language: English Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1999, ©1997. Database: WorldCat 10. Violin by Anne Rice eBook : Document Language: English Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2013. Database: WorldCat

6 Last date in print?

Currently in print. Most recent English reprinting in E-Book form: Violin by Anne Rice 388 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345425308 eBook : Document Language: English Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2013. Internationally: [Spanish] Violin Anne Rice [traducción, Camila Batlles]. 2011 ISBN: 9788498724707 8498724708 OCLC Number: 711660927 Physical Description: 347 p.; 21 cm.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Information not found.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Though total sales figures for Violin are unknown, according to a March 23 1998 article in Publishers Weekly, entitled "Jockeying for Position" the novel was listed as selling 501,702 copies since its October release. Also known that novel remained on New York Times fiction bestseller list following its October 1997 release from November 1997 - March 1998.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

1) Title Display Ad 164 -- No Title Place of publication New York, N.Y. U.S.A ISSN 03624331 ProQuest document ID: 109782942 Document URL: http://resources.library.brandeis.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/109782942?accountid=9703 Copyright New York Times Company Oct 26, 1997 2. Title Display Ad 46 -- No Title Section: The Arts Publication subject General Interest Periodicals--United States ISSN 03624331 ProQuest document ID: 109694748 Document URL: http://resources.library.brandeis.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/109694748?accountid=9703 Copyright New York Times Company Oct 15, 1997 Transcription: (identical on both advertisements, with minor stylistic changes in font/cover image size) VIOLIN A MAJOR NEW NOVEL BY ANNE RICE A NOVEL ABOUT TWO CHARISMATIC FIGURES - A VULNERABLE WOMAN AND HER CHARMING, DOMINEERING, GHOSTLY MENTOR. A NOVEL ABOUT MUSIC AS A MEANS OF RAPTURE, SEDUCTION AND LIBERATION. ANNE RICE'S MOST MOVING NOVEL YET-AND ALIVE WITH THE FIRE, DRAMA AND EMOTIONAL INTENSITY THAT HAVE MADE ALL HER BOOKS SINCE INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE GREAT NATIONWIDE BESTSELLERS ARRIVING AT BOOKSTORES COAST TO COAST

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

1) Display Ad 18 -- No Title Publication title The Jerusalem Post (1950-1988) Jan 1, 1998 Publication subject: General Interest Periodicals--Israel Source type: Historical Newspapers ProQuest document ID 1440568583 Document URL: http://resources.library.brandeis.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1440568583?accountid=9703 Copyright: The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Jan 1, 1998 Source listed under "other promotion" as it is not a direct add but a New York Times bestseller listing elsewhere. 2) Title Display Ad 14 -- No Title Publication title: The Jerusalem Post (1950-1988) Jun 11, 1998 Publisher: The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Publication subject: General Interest Periodicals--Israel Source type Historical Newspapers ProQuest document ID: 1440601920 Document URL: http://resources.library.brandeis.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1440601920?accountid=9703 Copyright The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Jun 11, 1998 Source listed under "other promotion" as it is not a direct add but an extraneous bestseller list in the Jerusalem Post (Israel) 3. Title Display Ad 9 -- No Title Publication title: The Jerusalem Post (1950-1988) Jun 25, 1998 Publication subject: General Interest Periodicals--Israel Source type: Historical Newspapers ProQuest document ID: 1440415762 Document URL: http://resources.library.brandeis.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1440415762?accountid=9703 Copyright: The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Jun 25, 1998 Source listed under "other promotion" as it is not a direct add but an extraneous bestseller list in the Jerusalem Post (Israel) As referenced in both primary advertisements: 4. 'THE ANNE RICE CALENDAR FOR 1998 in which she writes each month about her life, her work, her world' Image courtesy http://www.amazon.com/The-Anne-Rice-Calendar-1998/dp/0679766146 5. And a musical accompaniment (also advertised in above print adds) [And listen to violin virtuoso Leila Josefowicz playing VIOLIN FOR ANNE RICE on Phillips CD available at music stores everywhere] - (transcribed from previous add) Entitled: Violin for Anne Rice Staring: Leila Josefowicz (Artist) Orchestra: Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Composer: Sting, Camille Saint-Saens, Jules Massenet, Pablo de Sarasate, Eugene Ysaye, et al. Audio CD (October 14, 1997) Number of Discs: 1 Label: Philips ASIN: B0000041O3 With tracks including: 1. Moon Over Bourbon Street 2. Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28 3. Thais: Meditation 4. Carmen Fantasy, Op.25 5. Sonata In E Minor, Op. 27, No. 4: Sarabande 6. Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35: Allegro Moderato 7. Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35: Canzonetta - Andante 8. Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35: Finale - Allegro vivacissimo 9. Crescent Moon (Leila's Dance) Image courtesy: http://www.amazon.com/Violin-Anne-Rice-Leila-Josefowicz/dp/B0000041O3

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Very few of Rice's horror novels were committed to the stage, but audiobooks were popularized, as well as a musical accompaniment (See answer to previous question). Abridged and unabridged audiobook editions were released by Random House: Violin (8 cassettes) by Anne Rice 1997 Database: WorldCat ISBN-13:9780679460381 Language: English Subject: Fiction & Literature Format: Audio Cassette, Audio product Topic: Science Fiction Edition Description: Abridged ISBN: 9780679460381

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

1. Le violon by Anne Rice [French] Publisher: [Paris?] : Plon, ©1998. Database: WorldCat 2. Violino by Anne Rice; Mario Molina [Portuguese] Publisher: Rio de Janeiro : Editora Rocco, 1999. Database: WorldCat 3. Violina by Anne Rice; Marina Horkić [Croatian] Publisher: Zagreb : V.B.Z., 2000. Database: WorldCat 4. 小提琴 / [美囯] 安妮.赖斯著 ; 卢明君, 朱军, 白立平译. by 卢明君. 朱军. 白立平. ; Anne Rice; Mingjun Lu; Jun Zhu; Liping Bai [Chinese] Publisher: 译林出版社, Nanjing shi : Yi lin chu ban she, 1999. Database: WorldCat 5. Violin by Anne Rice [Spanish] Publisher: Buenos Aires: Editorial Atlantida, 2000 Database: WorldCat 6.幻のヴァイオリン / Maboroshi no vuaiorin by Anne Rice; Sayako Asaba; [Japanese] Publisher: 扶桑社 Database: WorldCat 7. Oplevelsesboks nr. 38. (Directly translated to 'Experience Box') by Anne Rice; Leila Josefowicz; [Danish ] Publisher: S.l. : s.n., 2002. Database: WorldCat 8. Скрипка / Энн Райс ; [пер. с англ. Е. Коротнян]. Skripka / Ėnn Raĭs ; [per. s angl. E. Korotni︠a︡n]. by Райс, Энн.; Anne Rice [Russian] Publisher: Домино ; Эксмо, Sankt-Peterburg : Domino ; Moskva : Ėksmo, 2008 Database: WorldCat

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A

N.A. This novel was a singular publication.

15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

N.A. This novel was a singular publication. No prequels or sequels, despite serial-style publications of other similarly horrific or vaguely grotesque novel series such as The Vampire Chronicles; New Tales of the Vampires; Christ the Lord; Songs of the Seraphim etc. Additionally, rice released a few series under pseudonyms: - As "Anne Rampling" she published Exit to Eden and Belinda. - As "A.N. Roquelaure" she published The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty; Beauty's Punishment; and Beauty's Release.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

For bibliographic life overview, see Ashley Stanley's initial entry on Anne Rice's Lasher. Born Howard Allen Frances O'Brien on October 4, 1941, today Anne Rice is best known for her novels in the starkly contrasting genres of horror, erotica, and Christian literature (11). Published in 1997, Violin provides readers a glimpse into not only the fictional life of Triana Becker, but also the personal life of Rice, by depicting a heroine facing hardships that bear striking resemblance to Rice's own. Though fiction often shares commonalities with the reality it seeks to represent, in the case of Violin, aspects of Rice's story not only resemble, but nearly mirror those of the fictional life of her heroine, Triana. Like Rice's life, the novel begins in New Orleans, the city where she would later set many of her novels. Moving from context, the life of middle-aged Triana is riddled and shaped by bereavement that, in content of even the most minute and personal details, mirrors Rice's (3). The novel opens in the ugly aftermath of the death of Triana’s husband death from AIDS, and follows a heroine plagued by the death of her infant daughter Lily, a tragedy familiar to Rice, who in 1972 lost her daughter Michele to leukemia (10). In 1988 Rice would return to that fateful city, this time to make a home with husband Stan (7). Yet in an eerie plot parallel, this move would set Rice up to foreshadow her own fate in Violin's pages by depicting a widow living in New Orleans six years before her spouse of 41 years would die from brain cancer, leaving her in an identical predicament. Finally, just as Rice’s father moved their family to Texas following her drunkard mother's death, (Triana's fictional mother also struggles with devastating alcoholism), and just as Triana embarked on her otherworldly adventure from New Orleans following Lev's death, so too would Rice, following the devastating loss of Stan, relocate to California (5)(3). In depicting a fictional heroine identical to herself, Rice exposes Violin to be less the byproduct of fantastical literary inspiration than a need for therapeutic venting. Whatever her literary inspiration, fans must hope that she derived what she desired from Violin, as its overwhelmingly negative feedback suggests that readers did not. Though not overtly religious, Violin raises the question of afterlife as Rice's heroine is "both haunted and inspired by Stefan Stefanovsky, the ghost of a 19th-century Russian aristocrat" (5). Despite heated interactions, the two appear curiously codependent. She retorts at one point, "Your torment wants a witness... You're jealous... eager as any human who is dying ... before the dying forget everything and see things we can't see." Tet Triana's ability to level with her specter is poignant; their conversations suggesting a world in which the living and dead coexist (9)(10). This narrative choice is significant as it alludes to Rice's spiritual stance at the time. Rice eventually renounced the Catholic faith in 2010 after a lifetime vacillating between follower and disenchanted advocate. Contrastingly, at the time of Violin's release in 1997, she was beginning a literary evolution away from vampires and towards God. She promised to "renounce her vampire novels, [in order] to focus on subjects more in line with her renewed beliefs," a promise solidified in 2002 (following her husband's death) by Rice's publication of Christ the Lord, in which she calls Jesus the "ultimate superhero" (4). Collectively Rice's works have sold nearly 100 million copies, "making [her] one of the most widely read authors in modern history" (1). Despite Violin's unearthly subject matter, Rice draws on personal experience with death to craft profound, relatable aspects. Of course, it is hardly an autobiography; its striking narrative similarities to Rice's life merely stand testament to the reality that, regardless of fantastical content, all writing harbors undercurrents of its writer in context; Anne Rice's Violin is no exception.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Throughout newspapers, magazines, and literary reviewing sites, the immediate general consensus regarding Anne Rice's October 31, 1997 publication of Violin was that it represented a largely "self-confessional novel," and not a popular one (4). As one reviewer bluntly stated, "[the novel is] dreadfully in need of a caustic edit" (5). The general consensus seemed to be that readers picked up the novel because of Rice's name, one reviewer stating, "I love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, so I wanted to read a book by her that has no connection to her vampires; I was curious". However, the reviewer then put it down shortly thereafter due to Rice's choice of subject matter and the "self indulgent tone" with which she portrays it, which causes the "reader [to have to] struggle for a footing in all this gush" (6)(5). This sense of disappointment was overwhelmingly shared, and not taken to kindly throughout the literary community, another reviewer remarking (in kinder words than most), "I finished [Violin] feeling like I'd invited a good friend to a girlie weekend not realizing she was having psychotherapy and that I would spend the entire time contemplating, alternately, her navel and then my own" (8). Reviewer Brad Hooper offered personal advice to Rice that seemed to be echoed by other critics; "Don't write so much." Hooper states simply, "She could have easily skipped her latest novel... [by the end] the reader is weary of Rice's clumsy prose style and her lack of inventiveness in terms of plot" (11). Yet, as he rightly forecasts (at least with regard to short term-reception), "she has fans galore, so be prepared for high demand" (11). Violin could not be considered an autobiography, given its otherworldly plot, yet some critics have called it thus, Publishers Weekly even labeling it a "semi-autobiographical tale of love and grief" given the numerous similarities between Anne Rice and her heroine Triana. Especially with respect to tragedy, the events in their lives nearly mirror each other, which might have given depth to her writing, but here instead seems only to have given depth to her criticism. As a Denver Post online review stated, "[Rice relies] over and over on her own life for material. It's starting to wear thin... [she] uses her alcoholic mother's death and her young daughter's death (of leukemia) as plot devices, her New Orleans homes as settings and her extended family as characters" (9). Another blogger stated (in a kinder review than most), "Rice has written her autobiography, using her talent for tragic, sensual spirit figures, tortured by their state of existence, in telling the story of Triana and the death and loss that has accompanied her life" (4). Like her heroine, Rice in her mid-fifties, giving Violin, "the whiff of autobiography... and therein lies the problem. Real-life reminiscences aren't written for the reader, but as a kind of therapy for Rice... [The novel] goes on, page after unhappy page, reminiscence after regretful reminiscence... Page 100 and Karl, who died on page 1, is still only just interred" (8). When not criticized for relying on her own tragic past to create characters, Rice is accused of reusing fictional figures. According to one review, Stefan (the ghost violinist from 19th-century Vienna) represents "just another one of the suffering phantoms... nothing new for Rice fans," as he is portrayed "much like Louis or Lestat from her Vampire Chronicles" (4). Moving from characters to content doesn’t make critics any more positive; reviewer Rachel Connolly said, "We can dispense with the musical material, such as it is, in a sentence: poorly researched, lacking in knowledge but not altogether indigestible" (8). In her audiobook review, Kristin M. Jacobi opened ominously, "Bernadette Dunne has the misfortune of reading this tedious, self-indulgent story of Triana Becker... The plot is the author's unedited opportunity to write a stream-of-consciousness piece with repetitive and endless descriptions. Rice's fans will want this production but will be disappointed" (12). The dialogue does nothing to save the morose plot either. A Denver Post book review quoted disgustedly, "'Love and love and love I give you - let the earth grow wet,' wails Triana... 'Let my living limbs sink down. Give me skulls like stones to press against my lips, give me bones to hold in my fingers, and if the hair is gone - like fine spun silk, it does not matter'.... Give us a break." (9) That same Post review also remarked disappointedly, "Stylistically, there's nothing new. It's the familiar thick stew, bubbling with torment and titillation, overheated tin-eared dialogue, strained allegories, head-case characters and the kind of awkward, intense monologues usually associated with acne and angst" (9). Moving from communication to circumstance, reviewers were unimpressed with Rice's sepulchral fantasy, "...eerie eternal melodies played on misty nights, the shades of the immortals shimmering in unlit corners - gives Violin an air of Victorian parody. Triana [which, apparently] means three Ann's, is mourning her dead daughter, her just-dead husband, Karl (she spends the first couple of nights sleeping with the body), and a long-missing sister... Anne, it's time to get off that streetcar named Bizarre " (9). As Bill Hayes states in his October 19, 1997 New York Times fiction Books in Brief, "Anne Rice's latest novel opens with a line that sounds suspiciously like a disclaimer: ''What I seek to do here perhaps cannot be done in words.'' Unlike many of Rice's other novels, written in series, ''Violin'' stands alone -- for now. " (2) Yet this seems to be only of the only remarkable aspects of the novel. Reviewer Rachel Connolly calls the novel "slow-moving" in her 1998 review, stating, "Immortality, passion beyond social acceptability and historical spans... [make up] the ingredients with which Anne Rice has endowed her best-selling novels... Having found the niche, she employs it again in Violin, this time conjuring up a violin virtuoso ghost who drags his victim, Triana, back to tile times of Beethoven and Paganini and into the realms of the after-life where she confronts her own familiar ghosts and guilts, [including] her daughter, Lily, who died of cancer, her alcoholic mother and her second husband, Karl, who died of AIDS." (8) Anne Rice's Encyclopeia.com article comprised perhaps one of the only favorable reviews, though it was of Rice's work as a whole, not specifically Violin; it proposed optimistically that, "Although some readers find Rice's subject matter disturbing, others take great interest in her treatment of otherworldly beings...several [critics] have commented on her ability to use language to convey different moods" (1). Another such optimistic review issued shortly after the book's release (coming apparently more as an intro however, as it offered no real opinion on the plot, only summary) stated, "Followers of Rice will snap up her latest novel, but this study of art and its relationship to life may disappoint others...Often told in a stream-of-conscious narrative that blends fantasy and reality, Triana's journey will speak to Rice fans" (10). Publishers Weekly was not unflattering of the novel, remarking, "[with] so many parallels... one almost wonders whether Rice has seen something like the apparition that her heroine describes. However much of the tale is pure invention, a new lyricism--in keeping with the music that mocks and ultimately consoles her for her mortality--brings Triana's strong, textured voice almost audibly to life "(13). Violin is seldom compared to Rice's other novels, due to its departure from the typical Vampire subject matter, and the fact that it stands alone in contrast to the majority of her work, published in series form. If at all, it is compared (predominately unfavorably so) to Servant of the Bones (1996), as the novels were published within a year of each other and share the unusual subgenera of historical horror. As Donna Seaman, a reviewer for Booklist, a bimonthly journal that offers advance reviews of books predominately for librarians and libraries, observed, "Readers would be hard-pressed to understand Rice's enormous popularity if they were to read only Memnoch the Devil (1995), Servant of the Bones (1996), and Violin (1997), her last three abysmal novels" (15). As Rice's 18th novel (counting her porn trilogy surrounding Sleeping Beauty written in the '80s under the penname of A.N. Roquelaure) the novel was not an utter failure. It was published simultaneously in two separate editions, had 750,000 first printings, and despite its uncomplimentary reception, was selected for inclusion in "The Book of the Month Club," a mail-order book sales club founded 1926 (13)(14). As The Denver Post stated, Her new novel, Violin, won't kill her career or hurt her bank balance - she was paid a reported $17 million for this and the next two books. But it won't help.... Rice was better off sticking with vampires" (9).

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

More than a decade after this sepulchral novel's release, critics seem to look it on more favorably, which is to say, they do not look on it at all. Five years following its release would see the novel disappear from ratings and review sources altogether, overshadowed by its vampire-franchise predecessors. The novel does not appear in any obituaries or the like, largely due to the fact that Rice is still living and producing new work. Additionally there have been no responses to reproductions of the novel in other forms as no movie or theatrical versions of Violin exist. The book was last reprinted in Russian in 2008, yet any English printings and new editions ended with Ballantine bookseller's 1998 edition. Despite being translated over a decade into several languages, and adapted for audiobook, audiocassette and eBook formats, and eAudiobook formats, the book was never reproduced on the Broadway stage, nor was it adapted into a Hollywood production like several of Rice's other works (7). Today the reception of Violin may have faded, but Anne Rice's presence in the literary community has not. Despite more than a decade separating her from the release of her most famed and popular Vampire Chronicles (which spawned several film adaptations as well as being partially credited with the immense success of the vampire fiction movement most epitomized in the global sensation of bestsellers such as Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series), Rice recently revamped her twenty-first century presence by expanding her Facebook page and announcing the release of an App for IPhones (3). As the author herself wisely stated, “To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself" (16). The key for Rice seems to be not letting such literary embarrassments as Violin deter her, and with several novels published since it, and an estimated net worth of around 50 million dollars, it would seem Rice is in no risk of doing such (17).

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

Bestsellers earn their places on these distinctive lists for a variety of reasons. Most harbor a coveted combination of captivating content and contextual relevancy; others, such as Anne Rice's 1997 supernatural romance bestseller Violin, offer neither, and thus owe their acclaim to elements beyond those found within their pages. A popular writer, Rice has sold more than 100 million books and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. In contrast to her other largely well received works, Violin's heatedly negative reception indicates that this particular novel garnered its fleeting flame largely because of its author's name, rather than because of its own contextual significance or narrative quality. Known under the pen names of Anne A. N. Roquelaure, and Anne Rampling, Anne Rice was born "Howard Allen Frances O'Brien Rice" on October 4, 1941 (12)(11). Following a troubled childhood, Rice's adult life was marked by bereavement and tragedies that show through in her writing. Though fiction often resembles reality, in the case of Violin, aspects of Rice's story appear to not only resemble, but nearly replicate the narrative of her heroine Triana Becker. Such eerie parallels suggest to readers that they are gaining insights not only into Becker's fictional life, but also the personal life of Rice, a reality that does not sit well with fans. Amidst Rice's popularity, Violin's disparaging reception is a testament to the reality that even bestselling authors sometimes misjudge or fail to judge their audiences. Like other authors of serial publications, Rice's fame and acclaim arise as much from the quantity of her works as their quality. Yet here she seems to have relied too much on fans' previous adoration of both her narrative style and her literary identity, crafting a story that does not convey either in a manner engaging to readers accustomed to her gothic tales of vampire romance. The vehement animosity with which reviewers condemned Violin, following the book's status on bestseller lists, is a testament to the potentially aphrodisiacal power of an authorial name stamp. Heralded as one of the most "widely read authors in modern history," Rice's name emblazoned across the cover appeared to enthrall readers who might otherwise have abandoned Violin with distaste, or failed to attempt it at all (1). However, given the Anne Rice branding, fans not only purchased the novel, but became irate upon its failure to live up to their expectations. In this way, Violin stands less of a failure than a testament to the unique ability of bestsellers. For better or worse, they appear as works able to reach, and even elicit reactions from, masses of readers, even if, as in Violin's case, this widespread proliferation is not profitable. The notion that Violin's fame arose out of authorial rather than narrative distinction is reinforced by its lack of lingering popularity or appearance in other mediums. Following its October 1997 release, the novel remained on the New York Times fiction bestseller list from November 1997 until January 1998 before falling out of the public or literary spotlight entirely (1). The novel's initial status on the list, combined with this relatively short lifespan, is, according to its unfavorable reviews, the byproduct of poor narrative quality coupled with notable name brand. Violin is often criticized as lacking a relatable or inspiring storyline, yet it hardly stands alone in these qualities, indicating that such factors cannot be the sole determiners of reader value. The Harry Potter series, one of the highest grossing in history, takes place in a world entirely unlike our own yet has attracted millions of readers and earned its author billions of dollars. Unlike Harry Potter, however, Violin does not make up for what it lacks in familiarity with distinctive narrative content or quality. On the contrary, Rice's plot development is slow and periodically punctuated by disorienting lamentations from Triana's life, which are often indiscernible from Rice's own woes. The two women share nearly identical pasts, rendering the novel confusing and at times frustrating, and making it appear less a work of horror fiction than fantastical autobiography. The sluggish plot development is especially so in the first half of the novel, where the slow narrative progression is regularly punctuated by references to the narrator's culpability in the deaths of her alcoholic mother and cancer-inflicted daughter (misfortunes shared by author and heroine). Like Rice's life, the novel begins and largely unfolds in New Orleans. Having lost her five-year-old daughter to cancer (Rice's own daughter Michele died of cancer in 1972), Triana is dealt another blow by fate when her husband Lev dies of AIDS. This is another tragedy eerily similar to Rice's fate, as six years later she would lose her husband of 41 years to disease (10). Just as Rice's father relocated her family following the death of her alcoholic mother (Triana's fictional mother also struggled with alcoholism), and Rice herself, following her husband's death, relocated to California, so did Triana embark on her sepulchral adventure from New Orleans following Lev's death (5)(4). Yet it is the novel's bizarre, not tragic narrative quality that turns readers off. This complaint is initially understandable in the first chapters of the novel, which follow the fictional aftermath of Triana's husband's death. Instead of contacting authorities, the heroine shuts herself in her home for several days, spending her time cuddling with or bathing her husband's corpse, ignoring the arrival of a 19th-century Russian aristocratic violinist named Stefan Stefanovsky. Even this initial peculiar plot twist is slow to unfold, its progression regularly punctuated by lengthy descriptions of the grating family members that she, and in turn readers, must now contend with in the wake of the tragedy. These arduous tangents grow in frequency and despondency as the novel progresses, as if the narrator is bent on impressing, to the point of inflicting, her guilt and despair upon readers. A Denver Post book review quoted disgustedly, "'Love and love and love I give you - let the earth grow wet,' wails Triana... 'Let my living limbs sink down. Give me skulls like stones to press against my lips, give me bones to hold in my fingers, and if the hair is gone - like fine spun silk, it does not matter'.... Give us a break" (9). That same Post review also remarked, "Stylistically, there's nothing new. It's the familiar thick stew, bubbling with torment and titillation, overheated tin-eared dialogue, strained allegories, head-case characters and the kind of awkward, intense monologues usually associated with acne and angst... Anne, it's time to get off that streetcar named Bizarre " (9). Triana's regular elegies coupled with the slow plot development earned the novel the classification (often in less kind words) of "slow-moving" (8). In fairness to Rice, perhaps readers should have been prepared for a semiautobiographical plot in the wake of her mournful, slightly ominous prologue. It begins, "What I seek to do here perhaps cannot be done in words, perhaps it can only be done in music..." and continues by introducing Triana as identical to Rice in physicality and tragic life experience. Speaking from the first person, she often fails to clarify whether she is describing herself or speaking through the perspective of Triana. Rather than becoming clear, this distinction only becomes more convoluted as the story unfolds. Though similar sufferings might have afforded Rice's work a unique narrative depth, here it appears only to have afforded it a distinctive narrative gloominess, unappealing to even devoted fans. One reviewer, speaking more kindly than most, described Violin as "dreadfully in need of an edit" (5). As the novel unfolds, it is not without plot, but it is frequently punctuated by mournful musings such as, "Why think of it? Hasn't enough common tragedy thundered down the road since then? Mother, child, first husband long-lost..." (7). Lamentations aside, the narrative is presumably intended as an adventure story. Following her period in mournful reclusion, Triana steals Stefan's violin, and the two venture into the world of the dead – or perhaps it is the past; the distinction is never clarified. While an inventive premise, it often diverges into the realm of absurdity, rendering the novel more strange than exciting. Despite her self-proclaimed ineptitude as a former violinist, upon stealing Stefan's instrument (which, inexplicably, he is unable to recover) Triana is transformed into a prodigy, and proceeds to travel around Europe being heralded by royalty and audiences. Here the novel may have bordered on uplifting, yet her persistently "self indulgent tone" seems to have rendered it more sickeningly self-aggrandizing than inspiring (5). The plot finally returns to the present only to conclude the novel. Triana ultimately makes a pilgrimage to Brazil where she believes her daughter may be reincarnated (again an aspect unfounded in the context of the narrative), at which point Stefan finally recovers his stolen instrument and departs for the afterlife. This slightly anticlimactic ending is perhaps fitting for the novel's largely listless narrative pace, yet it does nothing to ameliorate the opinion of those appraising it in context of Rice's other novels. Booklist reviewer Donna Seaman observed, "Readers would be hard-pressed to understand Rice's enormous popularity if they were to read only Memnoch the Devil (1995), Servant of the Bones (1996), and Violin (1997), her last three abysmal novels" (15). Part adventure story, part elongated elegy, and not entirely out of her typical Twilight-esque literary niche, Violin is ill adapted to any particular genre, which may have contributed to its ill-favored reception with any particular audience. Despite unflattering reviews, Violin retained its bestseller status for a few months. One literary blogger summarized best why this may have occurred in stating, "I love Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, so... I was curious" (6). Such inquisitiveness was unrewarded however, and the widespread disappointment that ensued in the wake of fans' dissatisfaction was notably heated. Another review blog asked, "How can I review a book I didn't even understand? ...This book clearly has no point" (6). Following an unfavorable evaluation of the novel's content and style, Booklist reviewer Brad Hooper went on to predict stoically,"[Rice] has fans galore, so be prepared for high demand" (11). Kristin M. Jacobi echoed such in her audiobook review, "Rice's fans will want this production but will be disappointed" (12). On both counts, this is precisely what appears to have happened. Though fiction often corresponds to the realities it represents, it would appear Rice has taken this resemblance as justification for replication. For stories to reach the threshold of popularity necessary to render them bestsellers, they typically harbor either realistic or relatable undercurrents, themes, or characters so as to appeal to mass audiences. Yet Violin offers none of these. Because of the obvious and extensive parallels between author and heroine, Violin comes off as less the byproduct of Rice's attempt to compose a quality work of fiction than a need to vent misplaced grievances. As its Publisher's Weekly review stated, "With so many parallels between the novel's details and what Rice has revealed of her own life from her battles with weight to her Brazilian odyssey--one almost wonders whether Rice has seen something like the apparition that her heroine describes" (10). For those seeking a semblance of realism, the novel offers little to no appeal; it fails to connect to any contemporary social or political events, and harbors no undercurrents of social, political, historical, or cultural realities. Reviewer Rachel Connolly called the novel's musical references "poorly researched [and] lacking in knowledge" (8). The singular notable exception is the presence of renowned musicians such as Beethoven and Paganini. Even here, though, her work cannot be considered historically accurate, as Rice's descriptions of these musical legends do not align with history. Yet, though poorly written, Violin's content was far from offensive. Thus, the fact that critics appeared nearly offended by the novel's unappealing content stands testament to the power of a bestseller, as able to entice audiences enough to provoke such a reaction. Here the motivation behind reader's vehement distaste may spawn from not only its poor narrative quality, but also from the way it complicates Rice's public persona, which had before been largely shaped around her Vampire Chronicles. This image is one that that Rice actively endorses by supporting Facebook pages, websites, and apps centered around the characters. She has even been known to arrive in costume to certain publishing events. Because of this, devoted fans may not have appreciated Violin's contradictory suggestion that Rice, by virtue of her similarities to Triana, is more akin to her slightly deranged grief-stricken heroine than readers would care know. Through mournful asides and morose narration, Violin appears aimed more at earning readers' sympathy than approval. Regardless of intent, she fails on both counts. Yet Violin is hardly the first bestseller to apparently lack the fan base to render it so. A further example of this phenomenon is bestselling author Joseph Heller's 1979 novel Good as Gold. Despite success with works such as Catch 22 and Something Happened, Good as Gold received mixed reviews despite its status as a bestseller. A March 5, 1979 New York Times book review stated, "The honeymoon is over for Joseph Heller. He will be thumped on for having written this savage novel" (15). A further example is Ernest Hemingway's Across the River and into the Trees. Researcher Christopher Hancock had this to say of the 1950 novel's contemporary reception,

Unlike many of Hemingway's other works, Across the River and Into the Trees was not as critically acclaimed. Although it was very popular among readers, critics found the book to be one of Hemingway's worst achievements. In fact, even the best reviews refer to the book as "a little less than perfect." Even those critics who saw quality in the novel also admit that it is below the Hemingway standard for writing (17).
Hemingway's novel bears striking resemblance to Rice's in more than reception. Like Violin, despite its fictional categorization Across the River and into the Trees left readers and critics questioning its potentially semiautobiographical nature. In Jeffery Meyers' book Hemingway: A Biography, he is less critical than many other reviewers of this work, though he poignantly calls it a "confessional" work (18). So rampant were the rumors regarding this notion, that the novel is now prefaced with the disclaimer,
In view of a recent tendency to identify characters in fiction with real people, it seems proper to state that there are no real people in this volume; both the characters and their names are fictions. The names of designations of any military units are fictitious. There are no living people nor existing military units presented in this book. (17)
Further evidence of the power of authorial name is shown by instances in which novels are originally published under an ambiguous pen name, whose popularity drastically improves following the eventual release of the author's real name. An example of this is the 2013 crime fiction novel The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, which only became a bestseller once its author's true identity of J. K. Rowling was revealed. As CNN reporter Josh Levs stated, "While the novel received praise before the secret was out, the disclosure that Rowling was the author--to little surprise--skyrocketed the book's sales. Reagan Arthur, publisher of Little, Brown and Company reported "a reprint of the book is underway and will carry a revised author biography that reads 'Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling'" (14). On Amazon.com sales soared more than 507,000% after Rowling admitted to being the author (16). Despite vastly differing narrative content, and all for different reasons, Good as Gold, Across the River and into the Trees and The Cuckoo's Calling all stand, like Violin, testaments to the power of authorial following as a factor able to drastically influence the audience the books reach. Particularly in the case of famed writers such as Rice and Hemingway (very different classes of such, yet still two figures with loyal followings), the fact that their novels failed to match standards set by literary ancestors is an attribute often touched upon by critics. Something less acknowledged is the possibility that that these novels might speak less necessarily to their own poor quality than to the superior quality of those previously released by the same author. In this regard, perhaps novels such as Violin and Across the River and Into the Trees should be viewed less as failures due to their lack of popularity, than as testaments to the popularity of those that came before. That both novels bear striking resemblance to the lives of their authors complicates the matter as it suggests a certain customer disinterest with the reality behind the fantasy of the authors they otherwise enjoy. Adding further complexity to the matter, in the case of Violin, it must be noted that its autobiographical references might, on the other hand, have actually aided in its reaching any position on the bestseller list. This particular year, according to sales figures, depicted a consumer environment less receptive to fictional work than those in years previous. Total sales figures for Violin are unknown, according to a March 23, 1998, article in Publishers Weekly, entitled "Jockeying for Position," though the novel was listed as selling 501,702 copies since its October release (9). Curiously, during this time, demands for securing the place Violin held at number thirteen appear to have marginally diminished. That same article went on to state, "In the top 15 fiction books for 1997, #15 sold well under 500,000 copies -- the lowest sales figure since 1992 for that position...there seems to be a reversal of trends that began the decade, when fiction sales outpaced nonfiction"(9). Of course, a novel cannot be un-purchased, yet were this slightly unusual literary climate not present, the number of disgruntled readers might have lowered the novel's position on the list. Yet Violin would not be the first or the last of Rice's works to mirror her personal life in content or context. Just as this novel nearly replicated its author's personal tragedies, Rice's years of convoluted relations with the Catholic Church, which included several very public renunciations, were often mirrored in the contrastingly devout or irreligious nature of her subsequent novels. While not as overtly religious as these, Violin raises the question of afterlife as Rice's heroine is "both haunted and inspired" by the ghostly figure of Stefan (13). Despite heated interactions, the two appear oddly codependent. Triana's ability to level with her specter, retorting at one point, "Your torment wants a witness... eager as any dying human... before the dying forget everything and see things we can't see," adds a peculiar plot dynamic, and gives off the unsettling impression that Rice is attempting to mitigate her own grief by fantasizing a world in which the living and dead coexist (7). While she eventually renounced the Catholic faith in 2010 after a lifetime vacillating between follower and disenchanted advocate, at the time of Violin's release in 1997, Rice was beginning a personal and literary evolution away from vampires and towards God, promising to, "renounce her vampire novels, [in order] to focus on subjects more in line with her renewed beliefs (4)." This progression culminated in 2002, when, following her husband's death, Rice published Christ the Lord, in which she calls Jesus the "ultimate superhero" (4). All bestsellers differ in factors propagating their popularity, which can be as much a byproduct of the social context in which they are published as the narrative content of the publications themselves. While some novels earn their places on bestseller lists for adherence to the former, or superiority in the latter, Violin is not one of them. Yet the sheer fervor of the novel's negative reception is in itself remarkable as it speaks to the influence of bestsellers. While not always well received, they appear to be books that are not only read, but also cared about. If nothing else, the oddities of Violin's content, author, and reception are a testament to the reality that identifying the factors determining a novel's success is often a convoluted matter. Furthermore, attempting to attribute any work's immediate and subsequent reception, especially in the case of a bestseller, to a single cause can prove more confusing than helpful. Whether coincidental or not, Rice's personal story often proves as tragic and bizarre as those she puts on paper, adding further complication to those attempting to answer this question in the case of Violin. Despite her statement in The Vampire Lestat, that "...most women are weak... But when they are strong, they are absolutely unpredictable" (2), Rice seems here to have heeded popular consensus, abandoning fantastical grief stricken passages in favor of The Denver Post review's recommendation to "stick with vampires" (9). Works Cited: 1. "NYTimes.com Search." NYTimes.com Search. Brandeis Scholar, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. . 2. Rice, Anne. The Vampire Lestat. New York: Knopf, 1985. Print. 3. AETN UK. "Anne Rice Biography." Anne Rice. All Rights Reserved © AETN UK 2005 - 2011, 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. . 4. Cancel, Nola. "Anne Rice Has a New App." Examiner.com. Clarity Digital Group LLC, 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. . 5. "VIOLIN." Kirkus Reviews. N.p., 20 May 2010. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. . 6. Irena. "This Miss Loves to Read: Violin by Anne Rice." This Miss Loves to Read: Violin by Anne Rice. Blogspot, 4 Sept. 2010. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. . 7. Rice, Anne. Violin. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Print. 8. Connolly, Rachel. "QuickSearch Results." Brandeis Scholar. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO), July 1998. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. . 9. Maryles, Daisy. "Jockeying For Position." Publishers Weekly 245.12 (1998): 50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. 10. "Violin." Publishers Weekly 18 Aug. 1997: 66. General OneFile. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA19678344&v=2.1&u=mlin_m_brandeis&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&asid=a2a6f901903ea0d0daf9c690d351d5de 11. Smith, Jennifer. Anne Rice: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996. Print. 12. "Anne Rice." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 18 Mar. 2014 . 13. Solderini, Bianca. "Vampire Chronicles - Mayfair Witches - Ghosts - Historical Erotica - Religion - Werewolves - Family." Anne Rice. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. . 14. Levs, Josh, Lindsay Isaac, and Joseph Netto. "J.K. Rowling Revealed as Secret Author of Crime Novel." CNN.com. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 11 June 2014. . 15. Leonard, John. "Books of The Times." Nytimes.com. New York Times, 5 Mar. 1979. Web. 22 June 2014. . 16. Hern, Alex. "New Statesman." New Statesman. NewStatesman.com, 14 July 2013. Web. 22 June 2014. . 17. Hancock, Christopher. "20th-Century American Bestsellers." 20th-Century American Bestsellers. John Unsworth Course, n.d. Web. 25 June 2014. . 18. Meyers, Jeffrey. Worldcat.org. New York: Macmillan, 1985. Print. ISBN 978-0-333-42126-0

Supplemental Material

Musical accompaniment: Violin for Anne Rice Staring: Leila Josefowicz (Artist). Audio CD (October 14, 1997) (released by Phillips)


Rice, Violin: Title Display Ad 9 : Copyright: The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Jun 25, 1998

Rice, Violin: Title Display ad 14: Copyright The Jerusalem Post Ltd. Jun 11, 1998

Rice, Violin: Title Display Ad 46: Copyright New York Times Company Oct 15, 1997

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