The Dark descent: essays defining Stephen King's horrorscape

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Greenwood Press, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 227 pages
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Surely one of America's most popular novelists, Stephen King has only recently begun to receive serious attention from scholars and literary critics. The Dark Descent assembles fifteen illuminating original essays that consider King from a variety of intellectual orientations, addressing the major novels and central thematic concerns that represent King's contributions to American letters and elevating King scholarship to a new level of critical discourse. This volume places King firmly within the canon of contemporary American fiction. The essayists are concerned with explicating the meanings of individual narratives and creating critical contexts for their interpretion. While covering a broad range of his works and using multiple theoretical approaches--including reader-response, mythic, psychoanalytic, and structuralist criticism--to offer insights into King's fiction, most of the essayists reflect on one of two central theses: that King's body of literature may be seen as having been deeply influenced by the mainstream traditions of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European fictions, and that the narratives may be read as profound commentary on the major political and social tensions shaping contemporary American life. King's supernatural horrors reflect actual horrors, and his compelling style makes art out of horror fiction. A King chronology, bibliography and an expository introduction flank the analytical essays.

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Contents

The Unfolding of the Female
5
Women in Stephen Kings Fiction
19
Kings Use
33
Copyright

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Men and Masculinities

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About the author (1992)

TONY MAGISTRALE is Professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Advising at the University of Vermont.

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