It's been almost 30 years since the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice was published and shocked the sensibilities of most readers. I have never read this trilogy and held off because I've heard that some disturbing and WTFckery sex acts occur. But since Plume has re-released this series with new covers, mainly because of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, they were kind enough to send me the trilogy to read, I thought why not bite the bullet (or perhaps in this case, the strap, and give it a read?)
But then again I have to respect Anne, based on this statement and her reason for writing these books: (from Wikipedia)
"The trilogy was written in the 1980s when many feminists denounced pornography as violation of women's rights, but Rice firmly believed that women should have the freedom to read and write whatever they pleased, and considered the trilogy her political statement."
Interesting facts about this trilogy:
- Anne was able to secure the publishing contract for her next erotic novel Exit to Eden (1985) with an advance of $35,000 from Arbor House.
- The trilogy is included in the American Library Association's list of "100 most frequently challenged books" of the 1990's.
From the NY Times Books: "A spokeswoman for Plume said the publisher had recorded a sharp rise in sales of the Ms. Rice's trilogy in recent months. Sales in the first six months of 2012 were twice those throughout all of 2011. Plume said it would print 350,000 copies of the newly designed books, titled ''The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty,'' ''Beauty's Release'' and ''Beauty's Punishment."
''In the '80s when these books were published, people really didn't want to talk about them,'' Ms. Rice said. ''It was viewed as an outrageous thing to do. The gays were the only people speaking about sexual liberation.''
She said that the empowerment of women today had allowed them to freely acknowledge enjoying erotic novels. ''Women have just as much right to pornography as men do, and I'm talking about literary porn, erotica,'' she said. ''If a woman wants to read about being overwhelmed by a pirate, that's her right.''
For those who have read these books, are they as disturbing and shocking as I've heard or pretty tame compared to what's being published as erotica today?
Synopsis: From bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquleaure. In the traditional folktale of 'Sleeping Beauty,' the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. It is an ancient story, one that originally emerged from and still deeply disturbs the mind's unconscious. Now Anne Rice's retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire. Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty's complete and total enslavement to him as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience.
Synopsis: This sequel to The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first of Anne Rice's elegantly written volumes of erotica, continues her explicit, teasing exploration of the psychology of human desire. Now Beauty, having indulged in a secret and forbidden infatuation with the rebellious slave Prince Tristan, is sent away from the Satyricon-like world of the Castle. Sold at auction, she will soon experience the tantalizing punishments of "the village," as her education in love, cruelty, dominance, submission, and tenderness is turned over to the brazenly handsome Captain of the Guard. And once again Rice's fabulous tale of pleasure and pain dares to explore the most primal and well-hidden desires of the human heart.
Synopsis: This most explicit, erotic series reaches its culmination as The Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty come to an unforgettable close.