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Thomas Reed Whissen

Related: cult fiction

Classic Cult Fiction (1992) - Thomas Reed Whissen
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Cult classics are a special breed of book. Rarely do these books make the bestseller lists until they are "discovered" by readers who then recommend them to everyone they know. The "golden age" of cult literature falls between 1945 and 1975. Their readers are typically college students who connect with the elements of "romantic hope and longing as well as romantic disillusion and melancholy." Many of the titles below are now mainstream classics. It remains to be seen if some of the other titles will jump from "cult" to "classic" status. ---Thomas Reed Whissen, Classic Cult Fiction, 1992


  • Classic Cult Fiction () - Thomas Reed Whissen [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Whissen argues persuasively that cult fiction is a distinct genre that can influence and change individuals and Western society. Cult books encompass the cultural components of "romanticism, democratic idealism, myth-dream, opportunity, and truth" and the psychological components of "idealization, alienation, ego-reinforcement, suffering, and vulnerability" and reinvent reality because the world has strayed from traditional values or is heading in the wrong direction. Reader response is crucial for cult status; readers must feel that the book speaks for them. To explore this genre, Whissen selected 50 novels, most written in the United States after 1945, and wrote individual essays. He summarizes the plots, themes, and characters; describes the cult status of each book; and makes appropriate comparisons to similar cult books. Thought-provoking and challenging, Classic Cult Fiction is recommended. - Cheryl L. Conway, Univ. of Arkansas Lib., Fayetteville, Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    Essays on 50 books that have acquired a permanent underground following in the past two centuries, analyze each story, its place in its world, and the manifestations of its cultism. Animal farm, Dune, Lord of the rings, and Walden two, are among the books. Also includes an introductory survey of the cult phenomenon, general and specific bibliographies, and a chronological list, 1774-1979, that also notes books not discussed. --Book News, Inc. Portland, Or. From Book News, Inc., amazon.com

    Classic Cult Fiction is a history, analysis, and reference guide to books that have become "bibles" to generations of Europeans and Americans over the past 200 years--books like The Catcher in the Rye. Fearlessly taking on "canon formation," Whissen identifies the top 50 classic cult books, first presenting an informed and witty interpretation of the phenomenon and its characteristics with examples from different cultures and periods. The individual works are each discussed relative to time and place, impact, and audience psychology and analyzed in terms of common cult attributes. A chronological listing of cult fiction adds a number of titles not chosen for the top 50. --Book Description, amazon.com

  • Against Nature, Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins
  • Axel, Philippe Auguste Villiers De L'isle-Adam
  • Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, Richard Fari˝a
  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. JR. Miller
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  • The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West
  • Demian, Hermann Hesse
  • Dune, Frank Herbert
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
  • Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover, D. H. Lawrence
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • The Lord of the Rings, J. R.R. Tolkien
  • Lost Horizon, James Hilton
  • Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis
  • One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
  • On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  • The Outsider, Colin Wilson
  • The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  • RenÚ, Franšois-RenÚ De Chateaubriand
  • A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse
  • Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
  • The Stranger, Albert Camus
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
  • The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Carlos Castaneda
  • This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Time and Again, Jack Finney
  • Trout Fishing in America, Richard Brautigan
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur Clarke
  • Walden Two, B. F. Skinner
  • Warlock, Oakley Hall
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig

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