Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Walsh


This study examines Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles in light of the nihilist tradition. Nihilism is defined in this study as the absence of meaning. Rice uses vampires to explore problems created through this philosophy that ultimately leaves a void in human existence. In a sense, this study is an exploration of the ways which humanity fails to find an adequate reason to live. Louis begins the exploration by searching for God. Unable to find supernatural answers in his animated state, he falls into spiritual decay. Lestat, however, takes an aggressive approach patterned on Fredrick Nietzsche. By killing God and giving up the search that destroys Louis, Lestat attempts to become the ubermensche. Lestat, however, soon discovers that the role of ubermensche itself also is meaningless. Other vampires seek meaning in other ways. Marius seeks meaning in art while Gabrielle tries to find a reason to live in nature. Akasha fails to save everyone by imposing her own version of utopia on the society of vampires. In the end, nothing works. Rice's Vampire Chronicles suggest that there really no meaning to human existence. Humans are ultimately lost in a savage garden.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1999 Angela S. McMullen