The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape

Front Cover
Tony Magistrale
Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 227 pages

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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The Unfolding of the Female
Women in Stephen Kings Fiction
Kings Use

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About the author (1992)

Tony Magistrale is a Professor in English at the University of Vermont since 1983. He received a B.A. in 1974 from Allegheny College, and from the University of Pittsburgh an M.A. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1981. He has written several books about Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe.[2]

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