The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape (Hardback)
  • The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape (Hardback)
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The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape (Hardback)

(author)
£52.00
Hardback 248 Pages / Published: 27/03/1992
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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.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313272974
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"With three respected studies of Stephen King already published, Tony Magistrale has become the strongest voice among those who argue the respectability of King's fiction. In this volume he has selected the best essays from the vast body of recent King scholarship to support his contention that King is not only one of America's most popular writers, but he is also one of its best. The essays argue collectively that King's works are deeply influenced by the mainstream traditions of 19th- and 20th-century American and European fiction and are a commentary illustrative of the major political and social tensions shaping contemporary American life. They argue further, with limited success, that King's works rely on a rich literary tradition that includes such respected genres as the gothic and classical Greek tragedy. Remarkably effective in this argument are G. Weller's "The Masks of the Godden," E. Casebeer's "The Three Genres of The Stand," and R. Curran's "Complex, Archetype, and Primal Fear.""-Choice
." . . reigning King guru Tony Magistrale has pulled off something of a coup, publishing in close proximity one of the best book-length studies and the best essay collection devoted to King's fiction."-Necrofile
"This book represents a significant contribution to the study of Stephen King and his work and should prove itself useful. Such intelligent critical interest applied to any author of science fiction or fantasy is especially welcome,"-Extrapolation
?. . . reigning King guru Tony Magistrale has pulled off something of a coup, publishing in close proximity one of the best book-length studies and the best essay collection devoted to King's fiction.?-Necrofile
?This book represents a significant contribution to the study of Stephen King and his work and should prove itself useful. Such intelligent critical interest applied to any author of science fiction or fantasy is especially welcome, ?-Extrapolation
?With three respected studies of Stephen King already published, Tony Magistrale has become the strongest voice among those who argue the respectability of King's fiction. In this volume he has selected the best essays from the vast body of recent King scholarship to support his contention that King is not only one of America's most popular writers, but he is also one of its best. The essays argue collectively that King's works are deeply influenced by the mainstream traditions of 19th- and 20th-century American and European fiction and are a commentary illustrative of the major political and social tensions shaping contemporary American life. They argue further, with limited success, that King's works rely on a rich literary tradition that includes such respected genres as the gothic and classical Greek tragedy. Remarkably effective in this argument are G. Weller's "The Masks of the Godden," E. Casebeer's "The Three Genres of The Stand," and R. Curran's "Complex, Archetype, and Primal Fear."?-Choice
"The Dark Descent is not a descent at all. Here, as in his other fine books, Tony Magistrale's scholarship has lifted the focus on King's work high above reviewer rhetoric and petty critical squabbles. These essays transcend the critical ladder and meet King on his own ground. Magistrale has editorially sustained purity of literary discourse that is wonderfully free of judgment."-Joseph A. Citro, horror writer --from the foreword

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