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Directly and in considerable detail this anthology argues for the serious study of the literary oeuvre of Anne Rice, a major figure in popular literature today. This writer of gothic fiction attracts not only great general interest among readers but also much serious scholarly attention among those who recognize in her work evidence of sophisticated characterization and intricate plotting. Such readers find allusions in Rice's work to that of Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, to Ann Radcliffe's gothic romances, such as The Mysteries of Udolpho, and to Bram Stoker's Dracula, as do such present-day authors as Clive Barker, Robert R. McCammon, and Stephen King. The essays in this volume assert that Rice goes far beyond the conventions of the formula to examine important contemporary social issues. Like a handful of authors working in the horror genre, Rice perceives in its otherwise predictable narrative structures a way by which a larger, more interesting cultural mythology can be developed, as the editors of this volume point out. In short, Rice may be said to search for philosophical truth, examining themes of good and evil, the influence on people and society of both nature and nurture, "the conflict and dependence of humanism and science," as one essayist states.
Stephen King's popularity lies in his ability to reinterpret the standard Gothic tale in new and exciting ways. Through his eyes, the conventional becomes unconventional and wonderful. King thus creates his own Gothic world and then interprets it for us. This book analyzes King's interpretations and his mastery of popular literature. The essays discuss adolescent revolt, the artist as survivor, the vampire in popular literature, and much more.
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