Cover image for Stephen King : a critical companion
Stephen King : a critical companion
Russell, Sharon A., 1941-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
xi, 171 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3561.I483 Z865 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3561.I483 Z865 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3561.I483 Z865 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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One of the most prolific and popular contemporary novelists, Stephen King has a devoted following of captivated readers. This is the first critical work on King to examine his most recent novels, Dolores Claiborne , Insomnia , and Rose Madder , and to analyze the many threads of his fiction in a way that is accessible to young adults and general readers. It is designed to help the reader understand the carefully organized narrative structure of his novels, the relation of his fiction to the horror and science fiction genres and to each other, character development, and stylistic and thematic concerns that recur and evolve throughout his work. Following a biographical chapter that links his life to the development of his fiction, Russell offers an overview chapter on all his novels. Individual chapters examine nine representative novels: in addition to the three mentioned above, Russell examines Salem's Lot , The Shining , The Stand , The Dark Half , The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands , and Needful Things . A complete bibliography of all Stephen King's work, critical sources, and a listing of reviews of the novels examined in depth complete the work.

Each chapter deals with one novel and includes sections on plot and narrative structure, character development, and thematic concerns. While concentrating on the elements of each novel, Russell also draws comparisons to other novels in King's canon and points out their developmental relationship. She shows how King uses horror, science fiction, and suspense to explore human relationships, how he expands traditional approaches to genre by combining elements of the various genres in his fiction, and how he has continued to grow as an artist throughout his career. Each novel is also examined from an alternative critical approach, which offers the reader an additional perspective from which to read it. Because it is the only critique of King to deal with his recent novels and has been designed for young adults and general readers, this critical companion will be a key purchase for school and public libraries.

Author Notes

SHARON A. RUSSELL is Professor of Communication and Women's Studies at Indiana State University, where she also teaches film and popular culture courses. She is a former head of the Detective and Mystery Fiction section of the Popular Culture Association and a member of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. She has published many articles on popular fiction and has contributed to several works on detective fiction. She is editor of The Dog Didn't Do It: Animals in Mystery (forthcoming), and A Guide to African Cinema (forthcoming from Greenwood Press).

Table of Contents

Kathleen Gregory Klein
Series Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1. The Life of Stephen Kingp. 1
2. Genrep. 15
3. 'Salem's Lot (1975)p. 27
4. The Shining (1977)p. 45
5. The Stand (1978)p. 63
6. The Dark Half (1989)p. 81
7. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)p. 97
8. Needful Things (1991)p. 111
9. Insomnia (1994)p. 127
10. Dolores Claiborne (1993) and Rose Madder (1995)p. 141
Bibliographyp. 159
Indexp. 167