Monday, August 01, 2005

In Praise of Horror
When Stephen King was presented with a National Book Award in 2003 (for "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters), the literati balked. Sure, he's practically the bestselling American writer of all time, and his books have been made into films that became, like the books they were based on, cultural touchstones. But a horror writer? The literary establishment considers horror the literary equivalent of a corndog.
But it's time to give horror literature (yes, literature) the respect it deserves, or so says Victoria Brownworth in the Baltimore Sun. "Horror still hovers outside the margins of what is accepted as serious literature, yet horror is immensely serious, dealing with the most elemental of human struggles, the fight against evil," she writes. In another hundred years, Anne Rice (Interview with a Vampire, The Witching Hour), Stephen King (The Dead Zone, Carrie), Tannanrive Due (The Good House, The Between) and Koji Suzuki (Dark Water, The Ring) will be taught as classic literature much like Frankenstein and Dracula are today, because these writers (and many others) use horror to look at other cultural ills and issues in society, writes Brownworth.

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