Representing Class During the Horror Boom of the 1970s and 1980s

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the horror novel ‘boom’ of the late 1970s and the 1980s, a period when many horror writers (including Ira Levin, William Peter Blatty, Anne Rice, and Whitley Strieber) found their work reaching bestseller status across the United States. In particular, the chapter focuses on Stephen King as an exemplar of many of the tendencies at play more widely, specifically trends concerning the depiction of class and the increasingly self-reflexive nature of the horror novel as ‘bad’ object. King’s novels frequently valorize a ‘homespun’ blue-collar ideology, rejecting the trappings of capitalism and the culture industry, while the author himself enjoys immense (continuing) commercial success producing the sort of work his writing often appears to criticize. The chapter resituates King’s place within the development and argues for his importance in US popular Gothic’s ongoing depiction of class and popular culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Horror Fiction and Class
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-53280-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-53279-4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2017

Publication series

NameAmerican Horror Fiction and Class


  • Horror Boom
  • 1970s
  • 1980s


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