Stephen King
America's Storyteller
by Tony Magistrale
December 2009, 181pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35228-7
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35229-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Stephen King’s books have sold over 400 million copies in 30 languages, and have been the source for over 100 films and television programs. His uncanny ability to entertain while scaring the daylights out of readers drives this phenomenal success, but at the heart of his best work is a deep-seated awareness of the very real anxieties about life in America and the state of the nation at large.

This analysis of the work of Stephen King explores the distinctly American fears and foibles that King has celebrated, condemned, and generally examined in the course of his wildly successful career.

Stephen King: America’s Storyteller explores the particular American-ness of Stephen King’s work. It is the first major examination to follow this defining theme through King’s 40-year career, from his earliest writings to his most recent novels and films made from them.

Stephen King begins by tracing Stephen King’s rise from his formative years to his status as a one of the most popular writers in publishing history. It then takes a close look at the major works from his canon, including The Shining, The Stand, It, Dolores Claiborne, and The Dark Tower. In these works and others, author Tony Magistrale focuses on King’s deep rooted sense of the American experience, exemplified by his clear-eyed presentation of our historical and cultural foibles and scars; his gallery of unlikely friendships that cross race, age, and class boundaries; and his transcendent portrayals of uniquely American survival instincts, fellowship, and acts of heroism from the least likely of sources.


  • Presents separate chapters on major works of Stephen King, including The Shining, The Stand, It, Dolores Claiborne, and The Dark Tower
  • Includes a chronology of Stephen King’s life and 40-year career
  • Offers a concluding interview with Stephen King
Tony Magistrale is professor and chair of the English department at the University of Vermont. He is the author of 20 books, several of them on Stephen King, including Hollywood's Stephen King and The Films of Stephen King.
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