King, Stephen: The Eyes of the Dragon
(researched by Benjamin Guider)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Published in New York, New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987. Simultaneously published in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Copyright held by Stephen King.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition was published in cloth, with no apparent simultaneous paperback edition.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

168 leaves. [10] [1] 2-6 [7] 8-22 [23] 24-31 [32] 33-67 [68] 69-75 [76] 77-120 [121] 122-138 [139] 140-182 [183] 184-192 [193] 194-267 [268] 269-291 [292-293] 294-304 [305] 306-318 [319] 320-324 [325] 326.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

The novel is neither edited nor introduced.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

The novel is illustrated by David Palladini. The illustrations are black and white drawings done in pencil and ink on Beinfang velour paper and reproduced in the novel. The preliminary unnumbered pages [4], [5], and [7] have illustrations. There is a vignette illustration on page [1]. Illustrations occur on pages [7], [23], [32], 55, [68], [76], 102, [121], [139], [183], [193], 239, 260, [268], [292-293], [305], [319], and [325].

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The book jacket is green with red writing. There is an illustration of a red dragon on the front of the cover jacket, and there is also a small illustration of a castle on the back of the cover jacket. The cover itself is mostly green on the right with a white vertical section on the left side. On the lower part of the green section is the smooth golden emblem of a dragon breathing fire. The text is well printed and large enough so that is easy to read. The text is 1.5 line spaced, adding to its readability. Overall, the book is in good condition. The novel itself is 24 by 16 by 2.5 cm. The pages are 23 by 14.5 cm. The margins are 2 cm. The size of the type is 103R. (Twenty lines of roman text measure 103 mm.)

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper is fairly thick and smooth. The edges are smooth as well. The pages are a uniform kind throughout the novel, including those with illustrations. There are no stains or tears in the pages.

11 Description of binding(s)

The novel is bound in cloth and covered by a jacket. On both the front and back layers, the outer 80% is covered by a smooth, medium green layer. The spine has two gold bars at the top and bottom of the novel, 1 cm from the end. The title in green and the author's name in gold, both in decorative lettering, are followed by the publisher's name, Viking, above the second gold bar. At both the beginning and end of the book is a green page of the same material as the inside cover of the book. Spine Transcription: The Eyes of the Dragon | Stephen King | Viking

12 Transcription of title page

Front of title page: [within a frame, 175 x 90 mm, which is within a larger frame (280 x 205mm) spanning opposing pages and containing the illustration of a fire-breathing dragon] The Eyes | of the | Dragon | A STORY BY | Stephen | King | WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY | David Palladini | publisher's crest | VIKING Reverse of title page: The artwork was rendered in pencil | and ink on Bienfang velour paper. | VIKING | Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd Street, | New York, New York 10010, U.S.A. | Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, | Middlesex, England | Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, | Victoria, Australia | Penguin Books Canada Limited, 2801 John Street, | Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1B4 | Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, | Auckland 10, New Zealand | Copyright ” Stephen King, 1987 | Illustrations copyright ” David Palladini, 1987 | All rights reserved | First published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc. | Published simultaneously in Canada | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA | King, Stephen, 1947- | The eyes of the dragon. | Summary: In the kingdom of Delain, a young prince | must struggle against powerful forces to gain his | rightful inheritance. | [1. Fantasy] I. Title. | PS3561.I483E9 1987 813'.54 [Fic] 86-40263 | ISBN 0-670-81458-X | Printed in the United States of America by | Arcata Graphics Hawkins County, Tennessee | Composition by N K Graphics, Keene, New Hampshire | Set in Bembo and Blackmoor | Designed by Amy Hill | Without limiting the rights under | copyright reserved above, no part of this publication | may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a | retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by | any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, | recording or otherwise), without the prior written | permission of both the copyright owner and the | above publisher of this book.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

The novel is dedicated to Stephen King's "great friend" Ben Straub and to his daughter, Naomi King.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The original publishing company appears to have released only one edition.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

One million copies of the first printing were made, and only 525,553 were sold in 1987, so it appears that there was only one printing of the first edition.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Chivers, 1987, 1988 (large print). Demco Media, 1987. Futura, 1987. G. K. Hall, 1987, 1988 (large print). MacDonald, 1987. NAL-Dutton, 1987 (paperback). New American Library, 1987, 1988. Penguin Putnam Books, 1987. Signet, 1987 (large print). Macmillan Library Reference, 1988 (large type). Signet, 1988 (paperback). Warner, 1993 (paperback). Additionally, Philtrum Press, Stephen King's own publishing company in Bangor, Maine, published 1250 copies of the novel in the fall of 1984. 1000 of these were numbered in black, 1 through 1000. The remaining 250 were numbered in red, 1 through 250, and set aside for private distribution. This privately released edition of the novel was printed and bound in Lunenburg, Vermont by the Stinehour Press. The edition consisted of 314 pages and measured 33 cm.

6 Last date in print?

The novel is in print as of February 21, 2000.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

The Bowker Annual reported that 525,553 copies were sold in 1987. The total number of copies sold is unknown.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

According to The Bowker Annual, the novel sold 525,553 copies in 1987.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

The January 16, 1987 issue of Publishers Weekly featured a two-page ad for the novel. There are six illustrations from the novel in various positions on the two pages, and a semblance of the actual novel's cover jacket spans the lower half of the two pages, with the title of the novel on the bottom of the left page and the author's name on the bottom of the right page, each in the same type that appears on the cover jacket of the novel itself. The publisher's name and logo also appear in the lower right of the right page. On the top of the left page in large bold letters appears the following: "For all the booksellers who helped us make IT big, a new King in the world of fantasy." Below that, in smaller type appears the following: "What better way to kick off 1987 than with a brand new Stephen King to join IT on the bestseller list. This time, King transports his millions of fans to a brilliantly imagined world of sorcerers and dragons, magic and adventure. It's a heartstopping tale of noble heroes and archetypal villains, told with the mastery that has made Stephen King America's favorite storyteller. And Viking will back it with a King-sized marketing plan." On the right page appear the following pieces of information in the following format: ∑ $400,000 publicity, advertising, and promotion campaign ∑ National print advertising, including ads in People, USA Today, and major newspapers ∑ Network radio advertising ∑ Eye-catching mobiles for store display ∑ Four-color poster ∑Selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club Illustrated with 21 drawings by David Palladini On sale January 12 $18.95

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

As the two-page ad from Publishers Weekly indicates, ads also appeared in People, USA Today, and other newspapers. Also, in the January 30, 1987 issue of Publishers Weekly, the novel was listed as an upcoming February release by Viking.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

The novel does not appear to have been performed in any other media.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Die Augen des Drachen: Heyne, 1987, 1988 [German]. Long Zhi Mian: Huang Guan, 1987 [Chinese]. Wanja Aeui Pimil: Munhak Saenhwalsa, 1987 [Korean]. Drakens Oegon: Bra Beocker, 1988. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Cairculo de Lectores, 1988 [Spanish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Emecae, 1988 [Spanish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1988 [Spanish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1989 [Spanish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1991 [Spanish]. Oczy Smoka: Amber, 1992 [Polish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1992 [Spanish]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1993 [Spanish]. Gli Occhi del Drago: Sperling & Kupfer, 1993 [Italian]. Les Yeux du Dragon: Albin Michel, 1995 [French]. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1995 [Spanish]. Glaza Drakona: Sigma, 1995 [Russian]. Draecai Oeci: Laser, 1996. Los Ojos del Dragaon: Plaza & Janaes, 1996 [Spanish]. Glaza Drakona: Poligrafkniga, 1996 [Russian].

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

This entry concerns the events surrounding the publication of The Eyes of the Dragon. General biographical information on Stephen King can be found in this database in David Perkinson's entry on Different Seasons, Nayna Agrawal's entry on Dolores Claiborne, Jonathan Whitehead's entry on Misery, and Kelly Smith's entry on The Stand. The following excerpt appears on the rear inside of the cover jacket of the first edition and gives readers the author's own thoughts on the novel. Stephen King says, "Although I had written thirteen novels by the time my daughter had attained an equal number of years, she hadn't read any of them. She's made it clear that she loves me, but has very little interest in my vampires, ghoulies, and slushy crawling things. "I sat down one night in our western Maine house to start this story, then called The Napkins. Eventually the tale was told, and Naomi took hold of the finished manuscript with a marked lack of enthusiasm. That look gradually changed to one of rapt interest as the story kidnapped her. It was good to have her come to me later and give me a hug and tell me the only thing wrong with it was that she didn't want it to end. "That, my friends, is a writer's favorite song. "I respected my daughter enough then-and now-to try and give her my best? and that includes a refusal to 'talk down.' Or put another way, I did her the courtesy of writing for myself as well as for her." Indeed, King wrote the novel for his daughter, Naomi, and for his friend Peter Straub's son, Ben; the novel has characters that bear the names Naomi and Ben. The novel was originally a children's story written in 1983; that original limited edition was designed by Michael Alpert and illustrated by Kenny Ray Linkous (Dictionary of Literary Biography). Recently, King produced The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Hearts in Atlantis, both of which have met with success. However, on the late afternoon of June 19, 1999, King was out for a walk in North Lovell, Maine, the location of his summer home, when Bryan Smith, 42, swerved off the road near the top of a hill, slamming his blue 1985 Dodge Caravan into King's right side. The collision sent King flying into the air, breaking his hip, pelvis, thighbone, and some of his ribs. Miraculously, King survived, and although he had to endure six surgeries in the three weeks following the accident, he is well on his way to recovery ( And fortunately for his fans, he has continued writing. Most recently, Simon & Schuster has published King's Riding the Bullet in the form of an ebook which readers can purchase and download from the internet. King is also planning to co-author with Peter Straub a sequel to his 1984 novel, The Talisman (

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Most reviews of Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon give the novel high praise. Most reviewers seem to view it as a "departure" for King in that it is a novel of fantasy aimed at readers of all ages rather than a novel of horror aimed strictly at adults. The following passages from various reviews indicate the typical response to the novel. "The best-selling master of terror takes a vacation with his latest work, a fairy tale for all ages, full of kings and sorcery . . .. King applies his considerable storytelling skills to this charming tale of good and evil. The Eyes of the Dragon comes complete with secret passages, poison brews, and the other staples of the somewhat formulaic fantasy genre-all of which, when combined with King's sly wit and finely crafted characters, makes for rousing good reading" (Booklist). "Surprisingly, Eyes is a gentle story, despite violence, gore and his standard vulgarity, because King has ingeniously interposed himself between reader and narrative as if he were telling the tale aloud, with a soothing cadence practically audible in the evocative prose. This heartwarming chronicle of brotherly love may be enjoyed by young adults and parents" (Publishers Weekly). "The Eyes of the Dragon starts out slowly, but, as in most of King's books, the pace speeds up steadily, building to an exciting and satisfying climax. While some King fans who want their favorite horror writer back might grumble, fantasy or adventure fans of more open mind will find The Eyes of the Dragon a thoroughly entertaining book" (School Library Journal). "A pellucid fairy tale, the new work is more elegant than any other novel Mr. King has written so far. He has used the full authority of his talent as a yarn spinner to create the atmosphere of a made-up bedtime story . . .. The cadence of the book lends it to reading aloud, and the narrative has the intimate goofiness of an extemporaneous story told to a child . . .. Located in a remote fairy-tale past, the story is free of the pop jargon and vulgarities that Mr. King has used in his other novels to create a plausible setting for his horrors. From the book's first words - "Once in a kingdom called Delain" - we know that we must suspend our disbelief just as completely as if we were listening to a tale by Andersen or Grimm" (New York Times Book Review). Most reviewers had this manner of positive response to King's attempt at a novel of fantasy. And the vast majority of reader responses to the novel on the Barnes & Noble website present positive views as well. The critical reception of the novel was overwhelmingly positive. Sources Consulted: Book Review Digest. Ed. Martha T. Mooney. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1988. 1014. Book Review Index. Eds. Neil E. Walker and Beverly Baer. Detroit: Gale Research International, 1994. 2926. Cassada, Jackie. Library Journal Dec. 1986: 141. "Forecasts." Publishers Weekly 5 Dec. 1986: 63-64. Penny, Karl. School Library Journal Jan. 1987: 116. Tritel, Barbara. "What the Wicked Magician Did." New York Times Book Review 22 Feb. 1987: 12. "Upfront: Advance Reviews." Booklist 83 (1986): 370. (9 Apr. 2000).

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Subsequent reception is not applicable in the case of The Eyes of the Dragon. The novel has not been transformed into any other media, so no new reviews have dealt with novel in that aspect. And reviewers do not compare it to other works of Stephen King because it is so different from all his other novels.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

In order to ascertain what The Eyes of the Dragon can teach readers about bestsellers in general, one must examine among other things the style and structure of the novel, the type of the novel, the status of Stephen King as an author, and the relationship of the novel to other novels and to bestsellers in general. Upon examination of the categories into which the novel falls and the patterns which the novel violates, it is clear that an author of Stephen King's stature can deviate from his usual genre and compose a novel (a fantasy aimed at young adults in this case) that will nevertheless achieve bestseller status. First, it is essential to examine the novel itself. What does it look like? What is the title of the novel, and what kind of novel is it? How is it written? The cover of the novel is green with red writing and the picture of a dragon, which course jumps out at potential readers. The title of the novel is The Eyes of the Dragon, definitely more provocative than the original title, The Napkins, and almost surely destined to sell more copies. Next, the novel is a fantasy, a genre not usually found at the top of bestseller lists, which of course makes the novel an intriguing topic for investigation. This fantasy seems to have made it onto the bestseller list largely due to the fact that Stephen King's name appears on the cover. Had a relatively unknown author written The Eyes of the Dragon, then the best it probably could have hoped for would have been an audience restricted children, a few adults, and those who specifically read fantasies. Although fantasies do not appear as often on bestseller lists as other types of fiction, some examples provide insight upon comparison to The Eyes of the Dragon. One might first suspect that The Eyes of the Dragon simply falls into the same category as such science fiction bestsellers as William P. Blatty's The Exorcist and Carl Sagan's Contact. But The Eyes of the Dragon is more of a fairy tale than a science fiction novel. It is related to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien's The Silmarillion was even a bestseller in 1977 (Jordan). However, Tolkien set out to create an entirely different world called the Middle-earth that required maps of its geography and an extensive vocabulary dreamed up by Tolkien himself; King simply wanted to tell a brief fairy tale that readers could enjoy on a fairly simple level. Tolkien's work requires an adult level of understanding whereas even a child can fully comprehend King's novel. The childlike tone of the novel is more reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, but those novels create an extensive alternate world just as Tolkien's do, and The Eyes of the Dragon has that touch of evil and fright (especially evident in the descriptions of Flagg, the evil wizard) that is not so prevalent in The Chronicles of Narnia. The primary reason that The Eyes of the Dragon is different from these other novels is that Stephen King wrote it so that his own daughter could enjoy it. The novel is only 326 pages long, and it has the "atmosphere of a made-up bedtime story" (Tritel). For example, the novel begins, "Once, in a kingdom called Delain, there was a King with two sons" (King); one can easily imagine a parent reading that very sentence to a child as the beginning of a bedtime story. That aspect of the novel is a large part of its appeal. Not only can Stephen King fans enjoy the novel, but children and their parents can enjoy the novel as well, and for that matter, so can anyone who enjoys a fantasy of escape that is easy and enjoyable to read. Of course, those qualities of the novel are important to its success, but the main reason it is a bestseller lies in the fact that its author is Stephen King. Plenty of authors write tales of wizards and dragons not unlike The Eyes of the Dragon that end up in the fantasy/science fiction sections of bookstores and come nowhere near reaching bestseller status. But when an author of Stephen King's prestige writes a novel, people pay attention and people buy it. The Eyes of the Dragon became a bestseller even though it was somewhat of a deviation for King. However, King is not the only author who has made a deviation such as this one. For example, Michael Crichton's Disclosure achieved bestseller status as a novel about an interesting twist of sexual harassment, a far cry from science fiction novels such as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. And if John Grisham were to try his hand at the horror genre or if Anne Rice were to write a novel with no vampires or mummies in it, the chances of achieving bestseller status would remain high anyway because the public recognizes the names of these authors and reads their novels often just for the sake of reading "a Stephen King novel," for example. Stephen King has succeeded in creating his own classification of novel, the novel written by Stephen King. It seems that all of these novels are destined to become bestsellers, so it is no surprise that The Eyes of the Dragon became a bestseller as well. The author's name on the cover of the book can often be more crucial to sales than the title of the novel. Additionally, The Eyes of the Dragon is evidence that there is room on the bestseller lists for more than just legal thrillers or romance novels. There is room for a fairy tale fantasy as well. And Stephen King mixes in just the right amount of evil and despair to make the novel appealing to a general audience. Peter is wrongly convicted of his father's death and then locked in the top of the Needle while Thomas gets to be king but must live in guilt because he knows that his brother is innocent. At the end of the story, King asks, "Did they all live happily ever after?" (King 322); and he answers realistically that they did not: "No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say" (King 322-323). But King does maintain the tone of a storyteller talking to a child as well. He admits as narrator that after the events of the story all the protagonists "lived well, and bravely, and I love them all, and am not ashamed of my love" (King 323). And at the end of the novel, one can picture a parent tucking a child into bed as the narrator says, "But now the hour is late, and all of that is another tale, for another day" (King 326). Peter assumes the throne at the end of the story, restoring justice to Delain, but the evil Flagg escapes and Thomas feels obligated to leave the kingdom and pursue an evil entity that will continue to lurk in the shadows. The combination of childlike fantasy and the harsh adult reality of the perpetual presence of evil make the novel interesting to wide audiences. Another point worth noticing concerns the many illustrations by David Palladini that adorn the novel. People often assume that bestsellers are aimed exclusively at adults, but the fact is that bestsellers are the novels that sell, even the ones with illustrations that are aimed at children as well. People most often associate illustrations with children's books, and in this case that is to some degree accurate because Stephen King intended for his daughter to read the book, but it is clear that illustrations do not preclude a novel from becoming a bestseller simply because younger readers are part of the target audience. Indeed, the illustrations and many chapters help break up the novel into parts that make it easier to read and therefore more appealing to a greater number of readers. One final assertion about what The Eyes of the Dragon can teach readers about bestsellers is subtle but is definitely worth examining. Adults may often tell themselves that fantasies and fairy tales are just "kids' books" and that they as adults have no interest in reading them. It could often be the case that an adult is merely unwilling to admit that an earnest desire to read such fiction exists. So if the novel has Stephen King's name on the cover, such an adult would definitely be more likely to purchase the book with the conviction that all remains well because Stephen King is the author and because reading his work is perfectly acceptable for adults because he always produces bestsellers. Admittedly, this instance could be rare, but it could very likely contribute to the sales of the novel. This hypothetical instance would be another example of someone who purchases a bestseller because of the author and not necessarily the content of the work. Clearly, The Eyes of the Dragon holds a special place among bestsellers. Of course, the primary reason for its success is the reputation of its author, indicating an important facet of bestsellers--that well-known, successful authors have not only achieved fame but have also gained the freedom to explore other methods and categories of writing with strong possibility of continued prosperity. But this important lesson about bestsellers should not overshadow the other important characteristics of the novel. The novel is a fantasy of fairy tale qualities that pits good against evil and beckons children and adults, a bestseller that is truly fit for readers of all ages rather than only adults. This novel reminds the public that even bedtime stories can be bestsellers. Sources: "1990s Bestsellers." People Entertainment Almanac. n. pag. Online. Internet. 30 Apr. 2000. Available Jordan, Cory. "The Silmarillion." Bestsellers Database. n. pag. Online. Internet. 30 Apr. 2000. Available King, Stephen. The Eyes of the Dragon. New York: Viking Penguin, 1987. Tritel, Barbara. "What the Wicked Magician Did." New York Times Book Review 22 Feb. 1987: 12.

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