Ramsland, Katherine

Ramsland, Katherine (1953–)

(pop culture)

Katherine Ramsland is a philosopher who has emerged as a major interpreter of Anne Rice‘s writings. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ramsland attended Northern Arizona University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1978; Duquesne University, where she received her master’s degree in 1979; and Rutgers University, where she received her doctorate in 1984. Following her graduation, she began teaching in the philosophy department at Rutgers and wrote her first book on the Danish existentialist philosopher, Soren Kirkegaard, entitled Engaging the Immediate: Applying Kirkegaard’s Indirect Communication to Psychotherapy (1988).

During the 1980s she became acquainted with Anne Rice and saw in her a subject worthy of her time and scholarly interpretation. Even though Ramsland had been working in a genre field, she was able to reach a mass audience. Over several years, she produced Prism of the Night, which became the first of a series of books on Rice that have ranged from The Anne Rice Trivia Book to the collection of scholarly papers assembled for The Anne Rice Reader. In the process of her writings and scholarship, Ramsland gained an in-depth familiarity with Rice’s vampire books and had become privy to many considerations that underlay the novels. She brought all that she had learned together in the massive volume, The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles (1993). She also prepared a similar volume on Rice’s Witchcraft novels.

In 1997, Ramsland’s interest in vampires led to her becoming editor of a shortlived periodical, The Vampyre Magazine, published by Sabertooth, Inc. She had by this time become intrigued by the phenomenon of real vampires, which led to the very successful volume Piercing the Darkness (1998), which highlighted her adventures into the darker sides of the community. In the new century, an interest in crime appeared that led to a number of books. The two interests merged in her book, the Science of Vampires (2002), and a lengthy article, “The Vampire Killers” for the TruTV Crime Library (posted at http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/weird/vampires/1.html). Ramsland currently teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.


Ramsland, Katherine. Prism in the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. New York: Dutton, 1991. 385 pp. Rept. New York: Plume Books, 1992.
———. The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. 507 pp. Revised. 1995. 577 pp.
———. The Anne Rice Trivia Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994. 244 pp.
———. The Witches Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s “Lives of the Mayfair Witches.” New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
———. The Anne Rice Reader. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997. 359 pp.
———. Piercing the Darkness. New York: HarperPrism, 1998. 371 pp.
———. The Science of Vampires. New York: Berkley Boulevard Books, 2002. 276 pp.

Real Vampires see: The Vampire (Real Vampires)

Realm of the Vampire see: Vampire Fandom: United States