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Stephen King’s Gothic

Stephen King is the world’s best-selling horror writer. His work is ubiquitous on bookstore, supermarket, and personal library shelves and has been faithfully adapted into some of the most iconic horror films of the twentieth century. This study explores his writing through the lenses of contemporary literary and cultural theory. Through analyses of some of his best-known work, including Carrie and Misery, the authors argue that King offers ways of encountering and understanding some of our deepest fears about life and death, the past and the future, technological change, other people, monsters, ghosts, and the supernatural.

This is the first extended critical-theoretical engagement with King’s writing, and will be of interest to students, academics, and fans of horror fiction.

261 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2011

Gothic Literary Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature

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"In Stephen King’s Gothic John Sears examines the Gothic underpinnings of the ubiquitous work of author Stephen King via a broad sample of King’s works, ranging from his earliest writings to some of his most recent novels, stories, criticism and interviews. Sears offers an insightful and nuanced analysis of how King’s narratives both speak to and work against major Gothic writings, traditions and themes such as repetition, doubling and allusion, secrecy and concealment, the writer and the text, uncanny features of time and place, resurrection and its hazards, degeneration, abjection and monstrosity."

The Gothic Imagination

Table of Contents


1. Rereading Stephen King’s Gothic
2. Carrie’s Gothic Script
3. Disinterring, Doubling: King and Traditions
4. Genre’s Gothic Machinery
5. Misery’s Gothic Tropes
6. Gothic Time in ’The Langoliers’
7. ’This Inhuman Place’: King’s Gothic Places
8. Facing Gothic Monstrosity
9. Conclusion: King’s Gothic Endings


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