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Reading Richard Matheson: A Critical Survey

Reading Richard Matheson: A Critical Survey


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Richard Matheson (1926-2013) was a prolific author and screenwriter whose career helped shape the horror and fantasy genres in literature, film, and television for over sixty years. Matheson authored more than ninety short stories and dozens of novels, many of which-including I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, What Dreams May Come, The Shrinking Man, Hell House, and Bid Time Return-have been adapted into feature films. Despite his extensive body of work and influence, however, Matheson has remained largely outside the scope of academic scrutiny.

The essays in Reading Richard Matheson: A Critical Survey provide the first critical overview of Matheson's texts, covering seven of Matheson's novels, a sampling of short stories, and several adaptations for both film and television. The essays are arranged thematically and address the sociopolitical anxieties reflected in Matheson's oeuvre; consider his precursors and successors; and situate him within narrative traditions of mythology, cinema, genre, and memory studies.

By providing an overview of his career, Reading Richard Matheson illustrates how a commercial writer can contribute to academic discourses of literature and film. Though the essays use a variety of theoretical frameworks, the crossover nature of the collection reflects the broad range of Matheson's output. As such, this volume will appeal to fans of Matheson's work in general as well as scholars of literature, film studies, cultural studies, genre studies, media studies, memory studies, and popular culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442234659
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 05/07/2014
Pages: 262
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Cheyenne Mathews is a Ph.D. student in modern British literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research interests include espionage fiction, film, and popular culture.

Janet V. Haedicke, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of English at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She has served as editor of the Tennessee Williams Literary Journal, president of the David Mamet Society, and performance review editor of the David Mamet Newsletter.

Table of Contents

Richard Matheson: Wisdom Writer
Cheyenne Mathews

Part I. I Am Legend: Influence and Intertextuality

Chapter 1: "Crawling Out of the Middle Ages": The Deep Literary Roots of the Vampires in I Am Legend, Charles Hoge
Chapter 2: "The last of the old race": I Am Legend and Bio-Vampire-Politics, Aspasia Stephanou
Chapter 3: "Wild Work": The Monstrosity of Whiteness in I Am Legend, Adryan Glasgow
Chapter 4: "The World is Quieter Now": The Threat of Silence in Night of the Living Dead and I Am Legend, Ruth Ellen Covington
Chapter 5: Last-Person Narration: Cultural Imagination At the End of the World As We Know It, Glenn Jellenik
Chapter 6: Who Killed All the Humans?: The Threat of Conformity, Consumerism, and Pure War in "Lemmings," Amy S. Jorgensen

Part II. Norms from the 1950s to Now: Gender, Sexuality, and Race

Chapter 7: Giant Bugs and Shrinking Men: Domesticating Technology in The Incredible Shrinking Man, Amanda Hagood
Chapter 8: (Male) Matter and its Dissolution: Crisis of Masculinities as Horror in Richard Matheson's Short Stories, Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns
Chapter 9:"The Most Monstrous of Monsters": Gender, Sexuality, and Marriage in A Stir of Echoes and Earthbound, Rebecca Janicker
Chapter 10: "Amelia" and Trilogy of Terror: Mother-Daughter Identification and the Oscillation of the Abject-Matrophobic, Kyle Christensen
Chapter 11: "The Most Bizarre of All": Reading Progressive Race and Gender Identity Markers in "From Shadowed Places," Tiffany A. Bryant
Chapter 12: "lice-infested, mule-eating Apaches!": The Intersection of the First Technological Revolution and Gothic Imperialism in Shadow on the Sun, Shannon Cummings

Part III. The Forms of Matheson's Fiction

Chapter 13: What Would You Do? Justice Between Destiny and Freedom in Richard Matheson's Short Fiction, Ralph Beliveau
Chapter 14: A "private and particular hell": Mathesonian Noir in The Twilight Zone, Cheyenne Mathews
Chapter 15: (Re)Presenting the Past: Bid Time Return as Historiographic Metafiction, Tanfer Emin Tunc
Chapter 16: Locked in Time: Trauma, Memory, and the Barthesian Punctum in Richard Matheson's Fiction, Simon Bacon
Chapter 17: Another Time: Novelizing History after the Canon in Matheson, Joshua Comer

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