“the horrorwhich had no end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever ended—began, as far as I know and I can say, with a boat made of newspapers perched on a rain-soaked gutter.”
Thus begins one of the most famous works of horror literature, “It” (“It”). Published in 1986, this novel is the nineteenth book in twelve years by a 39-year-old prodigy author named Stephen King. The three titles he published in 1984 alone totaled 1,288 pages. By that time, he had already achieved an extraordinary rise to fame.
In 1949, his father, a merchant marine, went to “fetch cigarettes” and disappeared without a trace. The mother moved across the United States with Stephen and his older brother. They often stayed with relatives due to lack of money. So it originated partly in the Midwest, in Indiana, and partly in the northeastern United States.
Early on, Stephen blossomed into an avid reader. Cinema attracted him early on. One of the screen’s staunchest impressions has been the 3D monster bar “The Horrors of the Amazon”. In 1961, the family of three moved to live with Stephen’s grandparents in Durham, Maine. Then he devoured the wonderful literature. He wrote himself, started at the age of eight, and after a few years sent his first stories to magazines. without success.
King skillfully captured the motifs in the air – in his first post-apocalyptic novel “The Aftermath” from 1965, which was never out of print, a supercomputer was killing people. Even while studying, he wrote a lot and persistently. It was first printed in 1967, at the age of 19. He received $40 for the short story “The Glass Floor”. He became an English teacher in Hampden, Maine only in a roundabout way, earning little and barely able to support his family of four, later five. Kings lived in a trailer.
He continued writing, and in 1972 dug a neglected short story out of a drawer. He continued to work on the script and wanted to get rid of it, which his wife according to legend forbade him to do. Doubleday Publishing in New York accepted the novel and “Carrie” was published in April 1974. First edition: 30,000 copies. He experienced a financial boom with the paperback edition. New American Library paid $400,000 for the rights to the paper version of “Carrie” published at the same time. Initial circulation: 700,000 pieces. By the end of December 1974, 1.4 million copies had been sold.
Terror was in the air. William Blatty’s novel “The Exorcist” was a huge success in 1971, and the film was adapted two years later. the movies. King’s first novels appeared in a time constellation that favored the horror genre: at the end of the Vietnam War, it struck the nerves of a terrifying and deeply insecure nation. The tales of the supernatural and supernatural that have permeated the modern technological world are well received. In the one where terrible things happen, people are helplessly at the mercy. Nightmare stories in which things kill and madness sleeps in the mind, just waiting to explode.
Although sometimes King just had to write down his dreams. For example, in the fall of 1974, during a short stay with my family at a large old hotel in Colorado. One night there, King says, “I dreamed that my three-year-old son was running down the halls screaming, his eyes wide, looking back over my shoulder. He was being followed by a fire extinguisher hose. In a sweat on.” And: “I got up, lit a cigarette, sat on the chair by the window, looked out at the Rockies, and when I smoked a cigarette, I had the structure of the novel in my head.” The result was “bright”. And also Kings whether the free art film adaptation of Stanley Kubrick is his most famous work.
Since then, a success story has developed, embellished with astrological developments, which has been in the seven-figure range from the end of the seventies and has grown from book to book. The career of the best-selling King, who has lived in Maine again since 1978, has been very fruitful: in his 49 years he has written 65 novels – the sixty-sixth novel was announced – and with “Life and Writing” a very useful volume on storytelling; More than 200 short stories have been printed and 400 million books have been sold worldwide.
But why did King become better known than his deadliest fellow authors like Clive Barker, the fearsome as Ramsey Campbell, and the more outlandish literary like Thomas Ligotti? Because Stephen King is narratively an epic elemental force. On the other hand, he was so successful that he always refrained from taking lewd extreme forms with great cleverness, and instead created sympathetic characters for children’s characters.
In the preface to the short story collection “Night Shift” (1978) King wrote, although he was portraying Nightmares and dreams scenesbut a firm realist in style: “All my life as a writer I have always been convinced of one thing: in fiction, the story itself must be so good that it trumps all the other qualities of the author; characterization, style, subject, mood, none of this means anything if the story boring. And if the story is attractive, the reader can forgive anything else.”
King’s very wide influence and appeal in popular culture also called for the activation of literary studies. Many interpretations were put on paper more than thirty years ago. So there is actually a folder called “Stephen King and Philosophy”. It has been thought, sometimes more, sometimes less deeply – in German recently by King Fan Dietmar Dath (“Stephen King. 100 Seiten, Reclam 2022) – about the good and evil in King’s books, about the death of God and the despair of man.
Also about the feminine subjectivity of his heroines. On his connections with Nietzsche’s philosophy, on the influence of Hindu philosophy on his great cycles, on Aristotelian notions of friendship, on power and violence in his works. And about the fact that in The Shining King, like the philosophical thinkers of Structuralism in Paris in the 1970s, he made the author (almost) disappear. There are studies in it on time travel and the nature of time, on the trinity of Providence and truth and fiction, and even on anthropological connections to Arthur Schopenhauer’s work.
Formally, King is a fairly conservative type of author, even if he has taken trips to other professions. if he is writing a vampire novel (“Brennen muss Salem”), or a crime novel (“later”) or serial killertrilogy (“Mr. when he does horrific things with “Puls” or writes autobiographical memoirs (“Joyland”) and successfully attempts to play with autobiographical stories (“Sie – Misery”).
The latter was given an additional biographical dimension twelve years after its release and nine years after the powerful film adaptation. In the book, when drunk bestselling author Paul Sheldon has an accident – he is cared for by ex-nurse Annie until she discovers he has let her favorite fictional character die, at which point she begins to torment him in a growing psychosis and intolerant manner – King is murdered by a drunk in 1999. Driver seriously injured.
King, as a reader, is known to know horror literature well. Likewise, he does not show this arrogantly at any time. “Carrie” portrays a West Coast journalist who, reading there, is more like H.P. Lovecraft, the eccentric author of unusual horror stories, than is Jack Kerouac, the author of Rhythm. In Salem Must Burn (1975)—the film adaptation will be released in Spring 2023—King emphasized the horror of Marsten House with an excerpt from Shirley Jackson’s “Haunted Hill House.” Of course, echoes of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories prevailed in his prose, “Shining” for example inspired by his book The Mask of the Red Death. “Dead Zone – The Assassination” is finally a tribute to the venerable Ray Bradbury.
In 1985, King admitted, “I started as a writer and nothing else. I became a famous writer and found, at least in the bookstore modeling scene, that I had grown into a bestseller.”—a big, swinging bookie who loves when he juggles money and hates when tramples on houses.” “It started as a storyteller, and at some point along the way it also became an economic force,” he added.
Fifteen years later, he said, “I will write as long as the reader is satisfied that he is in the hands of a madman of the first degree.” That’s what makes Stephen King scary – an effective scare to this day.