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Joyce Carol Oates (1938 - )

Lifespan: 1938 -

Related: cult fiction - American literature - grotesque literature

Joyce Carol Oates is a contemporary American writer who has written in the tradition of gothic fiction, in such novels as Bellefleur, A Bloodsmoor Romance and short story collections such as Night-Side.

Sexual violence is a central theme in Oates's work. Rape: A Love Story (2003) starts in the aftermath a gang-rape; often her female characters are abused and tormented by men in various ways. When once asked why her writing is so violent, Oates remarked that the question is always sexist. "The serious writer, after all, bears witness." --http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jcoates.htm [Jan 2007]

Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994) - Carol Joyce Oates [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The protracted onstage torture of Shakespeare's Gloucester in King Lear is the very height of the theatrical grotesque, but so is in less graphic terms, the fate of Samuel Beckett's hapless heroes and heroines-the female mouth of Mouth, for instance. From Nikolay Gogol's "The Nose" to Paul Bowles's "A Distant Episode," from images of demonic flesh of Max Klinger, Edvard Munch, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele to Francis Bacon, Eric Fischl, Robert Gober; from Jeremias Gotthelf ("The Black Spider," 1842) to postmodern fantasists Angela Carter, Thomas Ligotti, Clive Barker, Lisa Tuttle and mainstream best-sellers Stephen King, Peter Straub, Anne Rice-we recognize the bold strokes of the grotesque, however widely styles vary. (Is a ghost story inevitably of the genre of the grotesque?-no. Victorian ghost stories, on the whole, are too "nice"-too ladylike, whatever the sex of the writer. Much of Henry James's ghostly fiction, like that of his contemporaries Edith Wharton and Gertrude Atherton, though elegantly written, is too genteel to qualify.) The grotesque is the hideous animal-men of H.G Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau, or the taboo-images of the most inspired filmmaker of the grotesque of our time, David Cronenberg (The Fly, The Brood, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch)-that is, the grotesque always possesses a blunt physicality that no amount of epistemological exegesis can exorcise. One might define it, in fact, as the very antithesis of "nice." --Joyce Carol Oates, April 1993, originally published in Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque, Copyright 1994 by The Ontario Review, Inc. , sourced via http://www.usfca.edu/~southerr/grotesque.html [Mar 2005]


Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American novelist known for being nearly as prolific as contemporary novelist Stephen King.

She teaches in the Creative Writing department at Princeton University.

Oates has written several books, mostly mystery novels, under the pen name Rosamond Smith. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Carol_Oates [Mar 2005]

Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (1994) - Carol Joyce Oates

The central haunting of this collection of 16 tales is not anything so concrete as a building haunted by a ghost, but rather the interior haunting of a human being by their ever-shifting sense of self. As Joyce Carol Oates puts it (in a fascinating afterword on the nature and history of the grotesque), "The subjectivity that is the essence of the human is also the mystery that divides us irrevocably from others . . . all others are, in the deepest sense, strangers." These stories, while all dark, cover a range of styles and subjects. Some are vividly violent; several are subtle and/or ironic. The New York Times praised this collection for "pull[ing] off what this author does best: exploring the tricky juncture between tattered social fabric and shaky psyche, while serving up some choice macabre moments."

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