From One Master of Horror to Another: Tracing Poe’s Influence in Stephen King’s The Shining

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Abstract

This article deals with the work of two of the most prominent horror fiction writers in American history, namely Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. The focus of this study is put on the comparative approach while tracing the influence of Poe’s several chosen narratives in King’s novel called The Shining (1977). The chosen approach has uncovered that King’s novel embodies numerous characteristics, tendencies, and other signs of inspiration by Poe’s narratives. The Shining encompasses Poe’s tales such as “The Masque of the Red Death”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, and “The Black Cat” which are shown to be pivotal aspects of King’s novel. The analysis has shown that the aforementioned King’s novel exhibits Shakespearean elements intertwined with Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”, the Overlook Hotel to be a composite consisting of various Poesque references, and that The Shining’s protagonist is a reflection of autobiographical references to specific aspects of the lives of Poe and King themselves.

References

  • Dyson, Cindy. “Biography of Stephen King.” Bloom’s Bio-Critiques: Stephen King. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. 3-48. Print.

  • King, Stephen. The Shining. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2007. Print.

  • Magistrale, Anthony. Landscape of Fear: Stephen King’s American Gothic. Madison: Popular Press, 1988. Print.

  • ---. “Teaching Poe and King in the American Literature Classroom.” Approaches to Teaching: Poe’s Prose and Poetry. Ed. Anthony Magistrale. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2008. 139-145. Print.

  • Personal consultation via e-mail with Anthony Magistrale Ph.D. February 3rd and April 4th, 2011.

  • Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Masque of the Red Death.” Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2000. 757-766. Print.

  • ---. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2000. 51-66. Print.

  • ---. “The Black Cat.” Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2000. 235-243. Print.

  • Underwood, Tim et al. Bare Bones: Conversations on Terror with Stephen King. New York: Warner Books, 1988. Print.

Prague Journal of English Studies

The Journal of Charles University, Faculty of Education

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