Impact of Setting in The Lives of the Mayfair Witches

Anne Rice’s The Lives of the Mayfair Witches (1990-1994) is a Gothic horror trilogy that involves the history of a family of witches. Starting with The Witching Hour, the prose goes to great lengths to describe both antebellum and contemporary New Orleans. There are florid descriptions of the heat, the cracked streets, the rotting architecture, and the sprawling flora overtaking the Mayfair manor.

Points of analysis: What impact does the vivid imagery have on establishing the atmosphere and the history of the location? How does this incredibly detailed, setting-focused technique connect to other works of Southern Gothic literature, such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird or Flannery O’Connor’s short stories? How do the elaborate descriptions affect the more fantastical or surreal aspects of Gothic horror?

  • Emily, I was just thinking about Anne Rice and how I would love to read an article here about her. I appreciate Southern Gothic as well. I can only add my anticipation to such an article!!! – Venus Echos 8 years ago

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