September 28, 2022

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The world that Stephen King created

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Stephen King was in the eighth grade when he wrote his first publishing success: It was called The pit and the pendulum It was a version of a gothic horror movie he had seen in the cinema. He printed forty copies and managed to sell most of them to his schoolmates before being called by the principal, who berated him for writing “such filth.” in this book about writingIn which he relives part of his story, King says he spent years, after that episode, ashamed of his job and thinking about the manager who asked him why he wanted to waste his talent writing “stuff like that”.

It’s been a long time since then, and King is 75 years old today, and in his career he has published more than 70 books that have made him the most famous and prolific horror thriller in the United States and around the world. Although his novels were not always critically acclaimed, millions of copies were sold: some became cult films such as shining By Stanley Kubrick (of whom King was very critical), wings of freedom And the stand by me. More generally, his work in its entirety has helped create a fantasy comprised of children on bicycles, wild clowns, school buses, and mad writers, which continues to inspire and excite readers and onlookers of all ages. In Italy his last works, fairy taleWhich came out on September 6, took first place in the rankings.

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine and grew up with his mother and brother. He started writing very early: his first original story was titled Graymore Hotel And when he made his mother read it, she told him it was good enough to be published in a real book. “Since then, no other sentence has pleased me so much,” King writes. However, the truth is that publishing a story was not easy and that before he became a professional writer, King received many letters of rejection. He kept them all in his room hanging from a nail, which at 14 he had to replace with a stronger one because the weight had become unbearable.

However, some messages included encouraging comments, such as those made by the magazine’s managing editor Fantasy and science fictionTo which she replied that the story she sent him was not bad: “You have a certain talent. Send us other proposals.” King worked as a sports reporter for the school newspaper, despite not knowing much about sports and considering the newspapers his own.enemyAnd then, between the end of the school and university years, also in a textile mill, in the college library and at a laundromat.

At the age of twenty-four, he married Tabitha Sprouse (now known as King), who became a writer herself, with whom within six years she had three children, Naomi, Joe, and Owen: the latter two also became writers. Tabitha King, who currently runs the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation with her husband, has played a major role in her career right from the start. As explained in about writingWriting is a solitary profession. Having someone close to you who believes in you makes a huge difference.”

The King’s House (after getting rich) in Bangor, Maine (Robert F. Bucati, File)

In the early 1970s, the King family was not doing well economically at all, and Stephen supplemented the laundry stipend by selling short stories for what his grandfather called “boob magazines”, because they were the ones who paid the best of short novels. These stories were later published in the group Sometimes they come back.

After landing a teaching job with minimal financial security, the idea came to him curry: It wasn’t the first novel he wrote, but it was the first published. The king tells a story curry Like many of his ideas, it was born, combining two random items that stuck with him and suddenly finding a connection: in this case, one was a high school job years ago, during which he found himself scraping rust. From the girls’ bathroom, the other was an article about telekinesis and adolescence he had read in the magazine life.

Thus was born the story of a high school girl who is bullied by her classmates, who with her first menstruation develops a terrible supernatural power and uses it to vent her anger. Carrey, a character King wrote that he could never empathize with, earned him his first book contract with Doubleday Publishing. The $2,500 advance (publishers often pay a book before the book comes out an estimate of the number of copies they hope to sell) was small by the standards at the time, but King didn’t know it, however, and it was a lot more than he thought he could. Tell a story of his own. At least until he learned that another publishing house, Signet, had purchased the rights to the paperback edition of curry For 400 thousand dollars. A year later, a million copies were sold, and two years later, in 1976, it was made into a movie directed by Brian De Palma, and grossed $33 million.

after, after curry Origin Salem nightsIt is also the recommended novel for anyone who wants to get close to the author. Here, in fact, some elements that will return in later novels for the first time appear that will contribute to defining the terrifying world of Stephen King: a small town in Maine, a master writer, a school bus and of course monsters, vampires in this case.

At that point Stephen King’s career took off, but despite this his life was not happy. In those early years as a writer he talked about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. In the past, he realized that both originated from his books: for example one of the main characters in shining He is a writer and former alcohol teacher, while misery It tells the story of a mentally ill nurse who kidnaps a writer to make him write what she wants. It was later revealed that the nurse was a cocaine borrower. King wrote of those years that he was “dying in front of my family’s eyes” and that his wife gave him two options: go to the recovery center or the bag. chose the first.

Between the 1970s and 1980s, when his name was very popular, he published a few novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman: partly because he wanted to see if it would work anyway, partly because the publishing houses had published no more than one. book.a year for each author and wrote more. Despite selling millions of copies, King took years to receive top awards from critics, mainly due to the stereotype that horror and thriller genres necessarily belong to the “low” genre of literature, which appeals especially to less educated audiences. When she won the prestigious O. Henry Award for one of his stories Posted on New Yorker In 1994, the trade magazine Publishers Weekly He described it as “one of the weakest stories in this year’s competition”.

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Things have changed a bit with the movie wings of freedomtaken from the story of the king that had the original title Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption Which is separated from the horror genre: it tells the story of an unjustly imprisoned man and his life with the rest of the Shawshank prison inmates. It was released in 1994 and earned seven Academy Award nominations: it is still considered today as one of the most beautifully shot in cinema history.

After he became famous, in addition to writing books, King did many other things: for example collaborating with Michael Jackson on the script of a 40-minute horror music video. ghosts, write a novel with four hands, sleeping beautywith his son Owen, and Donald Trump blocked him on Twitter when he was still President of the United States.

Since the 1980s, King has spoken about American politics on numerous occasions, supporting Democratic presidential candidates from time to time, from Gary Hart to Joe Biden, and the politicians from Maine he loved. In 2014, Barack Obama awarded the King the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for artists in the United States.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stephen King’s Twitter account, which he often uses to express generally progressive views on current affairs (but also for less committed views and anecdotes about molly the dog Also called “Thing of Evil”), it has a following of 5.8 million people. in 2019 went viral Tweet it on Portland Press Herald, a local newspaper said it would remove the Maine book reviews column in its Sunday edition for budgetary reasons. Thanks to King, dozens of people subscribed to the newspaper, which allowed them to avoid closing the column.

Recently, in August, King spoke in public, and then as a witness in the Department of Justice, during that Trial against seizure by the large publishing group Simon & Schuster (who have published several of their books) by the larger Penguin Random House. King said he believed that greater standardization of large publishing groups was detrimental to other small publishers, and he was opposed to it.

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Stephen King became passionate about the horror genre as well and above all thanks to films, and perhaps for this reason, his writing lends itself well to film adaptation.

first movie He. SheStephen King’s feature-length novel, which tells the story of a group of children (later adults) from a small town in Maine who find themselves forced to fight against a terrible monster, was among the highest-grossing films of 2017. He. She It has become a symbol of horror even for those who are not familiar with history. In addition to films, several series and miniseries taken from Stephen King books have been released: among the most recent there are Dr. Sleep (continuation shining)And the Castle Rock and the position (taken from scorpion shadow).

A scene from the movie It (2017)

– Read also: What did Stephen King think of the series based on his books?

In addition to inspiring many films and television series, his novels have contributed to building a unique and coherent imagination that has never ceased since the 1980s to resume, adapt, and transmit on television and cinema.

A recent example is Weird thingsPerhaps the most successful Netflix series. The authors, the Dover Brothers, said they were greatly influenced by Stephen King’s books in writing the series, and also in characterizing it from an aesthetic point of view, so they drew inspiration from his very distinctive book covers for headlines and titles. attachments.

Among those who influenced them the most were cited by them He. She, And in fact, the heroes of the series are, as in the book, a group of non-famous children who find themselves obliged to save the world from a terrible threat. Before King, the character of an experienced boy and away from the classic canons of masculinity was hard to find in the genre literature, as well as the fact that the “bad guy” was defeated by a group of friends (as happens in both He. She it is in Weird thingsRather than being a solo hero, it was an innovation that had a lot of followers.

But He. She It is not the only Stephen King book mentioned in Weird things: In one of last season’s opening scenes, for example, our protagonist Eleven is very reminiscent of Carrie, who shares the power of telekinesis. Which the king noticed right away.