Additional Book Information
Danse Macabre is a nonfiction book by Stephen King on horror fiction and United States pop culture, published in 1981.
Danse Macabre examines the various influences on King's own writing, and important genre texts of the 20th century. Focusing on horror and suspense films, comic books, old time radio, television and fiction from a fan's perspective, King peppers his book with informal academic insight, discussing archetypes, important authors, common narrative devices, "the psychology of terror", and his key theory of "Dionysian horror."
In a footnote to the first edition, King credits Bill Thompson, the editor of his first five published novels, and later editor at Doubleday, as being the inspiration for its creation.
"...Bill called me and said, 'Why don't you do a book about the entire horror phenomenon as you see it?' Books, movies, radio, TV, the whole thing. We'll do it together, if you want.'
The concept intrigued and frightened me at the same time."
Thompson ultimately convinced King that if he wrote such a genre survey, he would no longer have to answer tedious, repetitive interview questions on the topic. King agreed to write his non-fiction appraisal of the horror genre, mostly limiting the scope of Danse Macabre from the 1950s to the 1980s (roughly the era covering King's own life), and using King's college teaching notes as the backbone of the text.