Inside the Dark Tower Series

Art, Evil and Intertextuality in the Stephen King Novels


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About the Book

Stephen King is no stranger to the realm of literary criticism, but his most fantastic, far-reaching work has aroused little academic scrutiny. This study of King’s epic Dark Tower series encompasses the career of one of the world’s best-selling authors and frames him as more than a “horror writer.” Four categories of analysis—genre, art, evil, and intertextuality—provide a focused look at the center of King’s fictional universe. This book reaches beyond popular culture treatments of the series and examines it against King’s horror work, audience expectations, and the larger literary landscape.

About the Author(s)

Patrick McAleer co-chairs the Stephen King Area of the Popular Culture Association. He has published many articles on King and teaches English at Inver Hills Community College in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick McAleer

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3977-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5283-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1
Introduction—The Dark Tower: A Literary Anomaly, an Experiment in Horror, or a True Mark of Literature?      5

CHAPTER      1
The Ending Is Only the Beginning: Genre and Its Influence on Climax      27
CHAPTER      2
Illustrating Imagination: The Infringement (and Evolution) of Visual Elements in the Dark Tower Series and The Gunslinger Born      71
CHAPTER      3
The Face of Evil: Behind the Hood and Under the Cowboy Hat      107
CHAPTER      4
Repetition, Integration, Immersion, and Intertextuality: A Tale of At Least Two Stories      137

Conclusion—“Time is a face on the water”: or Will The Dark Tower Endure?      173
Works Cited      183
Index      189

Book Reviews & Awards

“I was endlessly engaged with McAleer’s in-depth study of King’s work. He offers a well-reasoned, detailed analysis…. He shines a critical light on an area of speculative fiction that might otherwise remain ignored by mainstream scholars. He brings welcome validation to an author who has forever influenced popular culture.”—Fanboy Comics.