Beyond Literary Landscapes—Stephen King

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.

Who

This column serves as an introduction to the works of Stephen King, a reminder of some of the author’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Born Stephen Edwin King on September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine, the author has been “credited with reviving the genre of horror fiction in the late 20th century.”

Thematically similar author suggestions include Edgar Allan Poe and H.P.  Lovecraft.

What

Stephen King’s well-known novels include Carrie, Misery, The Shining, Pet Cemetery, Dolores Claiborne, and It.

Other popular works include Needful Things, Cujo, The Stand, The Green Mile, and ‘Salem’s Lot.  In 2000, King also published On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which reveals the author’s writing tips, as well as his experiences as a writer.

Many of King’s works have been adapted for television, as well as for film, most famously The Shining, as well as It and The Green Mile.

Where

Many of King’s novels are set in the United States, particularly in the state of Maine.

When

The author’s works often take place in the late 20-century.

Why

Readers who enjoy a bit of the macabre, in addition to horror, science fiction, fantasy, as well as themes of possession, telekinesis, and intricate psychological portrayals of characters, may be interested in King’s work.

How

AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the works of Stephen King are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this genre may enroll in ENGL 345: American Literature II, a senior-level, three-credit course, which focuses on “works of American literature written from approximately 1900 to 1950.”

In addition, students who may be interested in writing novels themselves may consider ENGL 387: Writing Speculative Fiction, a senior-level, three-credit course, in which students develop “speculative fiction (SF) writing skills through a combination of strategic study and writing activity.”  (Note that this course requires students to complete ENGL 381: Creative Writing in Prose (or equivalent) and obtain professor approval prior to enrollment.  In turn, this subsequent course also requires several prerequisites as well, including ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, a B grade in ENGL 353: Intermediate Composition, and professor permission.)   Happy reading!

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