King, Stephen: Dolores Claiborne
(researched by Nayna Agrawal)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

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

The first edition was published by G.K. Hall, which is located in Boston. (italics) Dolores Claiborne was published in 1992.
source #3

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

The first edition was published in both paperback and in cloth (hardback). They were published simultaneously.
source #3

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

4 Pagination

There are 332 pages in total, including a map.
source #3

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

The book is neither edited nor introduced.
source #1, #2

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

(italics) Dolores Claiborne was illustrated by Virginia Norey and Bill Russell.
source #1, #2

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 general appearance of the book is eye-catching. The colors are bold and radical-on the paperback, purple and dark blues and grays cover the front, and on the hardback, black and red are the primary colors. The typography is very e
asy on the eyes as it is in large print (in the hardback). Even though the print is smaller in the paperback, it still reads fairly easy.
source #1, #2, #3

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 used in the first edition was acid-free paper. While I could not get my hands on this copy, I did examine one from the second printing, which also used acid-free paper. The book I examined was publis
hed in 1993, a year after the first edition. From my observation, I found the copy to be in excellent condition.
source #1, #3, #4

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding of the first edition was similar to the second edition. Both used black embossed linen grain cloth and the text was glued to the spine.
source #1, #4

12 Transcription of title page

source #1, #4

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

There are no manuscripts available at the University of Virginia. Several of King's manuscripts are available at the Special Collections Department in the Raymond H. Fogler Library at the University of Maine. Th
e collection includes correspondence, manuscripts and galley proofs.
source #5, #6

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

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

No, the original publisher, G.K. Hall, published the first edition only.
Source-WorldCat, record title-Dolores Claiborne

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?

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

In chronological order (multiple listings of one publisher signifies another edition): 1992 G.K. Hall 1992 Macmillan Library Reference 1993 Viking 1993 Viking 1993 Signet 1993 Signet 1993 New English Library 1993 Hodder & Stoughton (London, England) 1993 NAL/Dutton 1993 Macmillan Library Reference 1993 Ediciones B (Barcelona, Spain) 1994 Sperling & Kupfer (Milan, Italy) 1995 NAL/Dutton 1995 NAL/Dutton 1995 Penguin-Highbridge 1997 NAL/Dutton 1999 Smithmark Publishers, Incorporated
Source-Books In Print, World Cat

6 Last date in print?

The 1999 edition that is stated to be published by Smithmark Publishers, Incorporated, is not available as of yet. Therefore, the last date of print is 1997, by NAL/Dutton.
Source: Books In Print, World Cat

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

In the process of obtaining information.

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

In the process of obtaining information.

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

There were no advertising copies available.
Sources: NY Review (1992-present), Publisher's Weekly (1991-1997) Other Stephen King paperback editions

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

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

There is an audiovisual version and two recordings of (underlined) Dolores Claiborne:
Recording, 1995, (underlined) Dolores Claiborne, Dove Audio 6 sound cassettes (9 hours): analog, Dolby processed, Complete and unabridged, Read by Elisa Cardenas.
Audiovisual,1995, (underlined) Dolores Claiborne, Columbia TriStar Entertainment, screenplay by Tony Gilroy, 1 videocassette (131 min.), closed captioned for the hearing impaired. Produced by Charles Mulvehill and Taylor Hackford; directed by Taylor Hackford; music, Danny Elfman. VHS format; Dolby surround stereo; digitally mastered.
Recording, 1995,(underlined)Dolores Claiborne, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, (recording studio)Varese Sarabande, 1 sound disc, digital, 4 3/4 inch, compact disc
Source: WorldCat/OCLC, record title: Dolores Claiborne

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

King, Stephen. (underlined)Dolores Claiborne. Polish. Swiat Ksiazki,1994 & 1995. 222p.; 21 cm.
King, Stephen. (underlined) Dolores Claibornova. Cesky. Odeon, 1996. 250p.; 21 cm.
King, Stephen. (underlined) Dollolesu K'ulleipon. Korean. Ip'sae, 1995. 303p.; 23cm.
King, Stephen. (underlined) Dolores Kleiborn. Russian. Sigma, 1995. 413p.; 22cm.
King, Stephen. (underlined) Dolores Claiborne. Spanish. Grijalbo, 1993, 291p.; 22cm.
King, Stephen. (underlined) Dolores. Hungarian. Europa, 1994. 260p.; 20cm.
Source: World Cat, record title: Dolores Claiborne

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

There is no record of (underlined)Dolores Claiborne being serialized.
Source: Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (1992-1997)

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

There is no account of a sequel or prequel associated with (underlined) Dolores Claiborne.
Source: Books In Print, Books by author. (I went through the entire list of King's writings and no sequel or prequel was given.)

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Stephen King, author of Dolores Claiborne and many other bestsellers, was born on September 21, 1947 in Portland Maine. He was born to Ruth and Donald King and has one older brother, David. When King was two ye
ars old, his father left the family. There are several pivotal moments in his early years that King feels gave his direction to explore writing. King began writing when he was seven. One day, when he was twelve, he was snooping around in his Aunt's a
ttic and found a box of horror and sci-fi books. His interest in horror was aroused and shortly thereafter, his first horror story entitled "I Was A Teen Grave Robber" was published (1965) in the Comics Review Magazine. Carrie, his first novel, was p
ublished in 1973.
King graduated from the University of Maine in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in English. He continued to write short stories, supporting himself by working myriad jobs, as a teacher, a janitor and the whole gamut of careers that fall in between.
Currently, the American novelist is married to Tabatha Spruce, his wife of 26 years. They have three children, Joe, Owen and Naomi. He lives in Bangor, Maine, not far from his birthplace, and works from his office at home.
As his novels are sold world-wide and have been translated into many languages, including Korean, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, and others. Thus, it comes to no surprise when one reads of the numerous agents, editors and publishers he has worked with. A
mong the list: Signet, Viking, Samarai, Random House, and Montgolia. Many of King's novels have also been made into movies, some of which he has starred in. He has worked with directors Rob Reiner, George Romero, Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick.
His current agent is Arthur Greene and can be reached at the following address: 101 Park Ave., New York, NY 10178.
King's major contribution to horror literature is to situate it within the general anxieties of contemporary life. His focus is not on vampires, werewolves and such but on ordinary people faced with these horrors and the darker horrors of lost jobs, di
sintegrating families and mental breakdowns. These fears that haunt the atomic age are all explored in Dolores Claiborne. King's novels vindicate the dreads of that age. His novels include: Carrie (1973), Salem's Lot (1975), The Stand (1978), The De
ad Zone (1979), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981), Christine (1983), Misery (1986), The TommyKnockers (1987), and The Dark Half (1989). Pet Sematary, Misery, Sleepwalkers and It have proven to be his most famous tales.

Assignment 4: Reception History

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

I was surprised to find along with the expected positive reviews of Dolores Claiborne, the novel recieved many mixed reviews as well. The largest, in-depth, and most likely on of the first reviews that King's novel received was in Publisher's Weekly, January 19, 1992. Publisher's Weekly (surprise, surprise) lauds King's innovative style and realism in "capturing the complications of the human psyche." The review points out several poignant moments in the book to prove this statement. In the conclusion, King's style is examined and rated as a 9 out of a possible 10. Overall, Publisher's Weekly gives an affirmative review. The next criticism I found interesting was written for the February 2, 1992 printing of The Washington Post by Douglas Meyersonian. His standing on the novel was an obvious amalgam of both positive and negative. He opens with an excerpt from the book, discussing the incestuous relationship between the daughter and husband of Dolores Claiborne's. She has just come to the realization of the situation and the expected insanity and surrealism follows, ending with Dolores thinking,"I wanted to chop him up into a million pieces and serve him as goat liver at Vera (her employer) Donovan's housewarming party. Fucking bastard, fucking his daughter, my was time to rip him." After which, Meyersonian immediately quips," Maybe that's why I'm felling nauseous." He launches into a mini tirade about the uneccessary violence in the story. "King" he says, "is famous for taking cheap shots at making something salient to his audience but this is a new low in his career." Meyersonian argues against the lewd language, the graphic description of sex- ual acts and the side-line stories filled with unsubstantial salaciousness "just for decoration." Then the review takes a turn for the better, the better that is, for the novel. Meyersonian concentrates on the storyline and considers it rich, real and distinct from his previous works, a point he greatly stresses as King is a writer of myriad novels and continues to create vastly new plots. In conclusion, Meyersonian finds Dolores Claiborne disturbing and effective in drawing in its audience. He recommends that it be modified or restricted in its movie version. In yet another review written by Thomas Brightman of The New York Times (February 6, 1992), Dolores Claiborne received a positive review all the way through the lengthy criticism, until the last several paragraphs in which Brightman pulls a complete a 360. He starts foaming at the mouth as he ridicules King's success, calling it "a quirk" of modern literature. "Hey, what's America's obsession with pulp fiction? As long as its surreal, salacious, and sick, we're ready to pay up." Brightman ends with a pejorative labeling of the famous novelist as "a wacked, warped thing." It's somewhat comical to compare this quote with Boston Globe's Dave Terr's opinion of King, stated in his review of Dolores Claiborne, "he's better than football."
Sources: Thomas Brightman. The New York Times. February 6, 1992. Ray Burgess. Publisher's Weekly. January 19, 1992. Douglas Meyersonian. The Washington Post. February 2, 1992. Dave Terr. Boston Globe. February 20, 1992.

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

While I could not find any subsequent critiques after 1997 (the book was published in 1992), I did come across a single, minute reference to Dolores Claiborne in an article discussing an upcoming novel of King's. The August 27, 1997 printing of The Chicago Chronicle stated, "His (King) new novel is eerie and duplicite and one particular character bears a frightfully striking resemblance to Dolores Claiborne from the novel sharing the same name. Both woman are stuck, victims and objects in a society and social structure that denies then their peace. King's interpretation of Dolores Claiborne was brilliant in detail, particularly her emotions and her past. I hope he'll be able to do the same again."
James Edwards, The Chicago Chronicle, August 27, 1997.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

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

"Sometimes being a bitch is the only thing a woman has to hold on to" states Vera Donovan in Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne. This quote became quite popular and a aphorism for many readers of the novel. Displayed in ads and delivered in the commercial previews across the country, this maxim astonished many and piqued the curiosity of King's readers as well as the few who are unfamiliar or dispassionate towards King's works. So intense was the response to this quote, utilized as a marketing dynamic for
both novel and movie ticket sales (Gaylart, p.83). Still, another famous quip from the rich-bitch Vera goes, "An accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend." While these two quips from the novel are dramatic and attention-grabbing, the more obvious reasons for the novel's and motion picture's sales and success are its author and his incredible popularity. Stephen King, known by many as the "King," or father
of modern fiction and horror is well aware that his reputation precedes him (Baynon, p. 12). He has written 44 books in 35 years, 18 of them best sellers. The all star cast for the film production of Dolores Claiborne included academy award winner Kathy Bates (who won for Stephen King's screen adaptation of his novel Misery) and Jennifer Jason Leigh, considered "a virtuoso and in a league beyond any other
prime time actress of the 90's (Cagle, p.28)." Because Kathy Bates also starred in Misery, prior to Dolores Claiborne, the two films received much criticism in comparison of one to another. Yet, the two characters Bates portrays are very distinct, one being an obsessed, deranged woman (Annie-Misery) and the other being a loyal and loving mother/friend (Dolores-Dolores Claiborne). In examining the novel, one can see the many similarities it
shares with another novel of King's entitled Gerald's Game (Darduo, p.111). The novel's (Gerald's Game) publishing shortly preceded Dolores Claiborne. Both novels are short on supernatural horror and long on psychological study. In both novels, the t
otal eclipse of the sun on July 20, 1963 is of importance. Finally, the theme of sexual abuse links the two novels and in both, there is a struggle with the repercussions of cruelty. Because Dolores Claiborne does not contain the standard elements found in a Stephen King creation, it was prone to many surprised and disgruntled receptions from King's fans. Reviews ranged from praiseworthy to disastrous and many were inconclusive in t
heir rating of the novel. Jeff Jensen of Magill Book Reviews declared the book to be "fantastic" and found King to be "in fine form here, working more closely to mainstream of American fiction." He added that the novel effectively accounts a woman's s
truggle and anguish, "sustained by love, loyalty and sheer determination" (Jensen, p.1). Many of King's ardent fans shared Jensen's affirmative reception of Dolores Claiborne: "Not only is it very well written but the characters seem so real I s
wear I've known them somewhere before. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard or felt so deeply connected to a character. It grabs you right from the beginning and doesn't let you go until the last page is turned. I wish I could meet Dolores Claiborne
" (Masterson, Another fan wrote, "This novel extends the storytelling dexterity of King, because it wanders away from his usual supernatural themes, and unfolds the journey of life and tragedy of a real-like character very solidly" (Jivaw, Then, there were the mixed reviews. Wrote Jennifer Veerson of The Boston Globe, "The thing I find myself repeatedly saying about Stephen King is that his writing could benefit from a ruthless editor who isn't afraid to just chop out whole chunks of his
manuscripts. Dolores Claiborne is an excellent example of why this is so. The book would have made a truly excellent novel, one with great emotional impact and a lot to say about the things people have to do to survive, and the price one must pay for s
urvival. That content is still there?but one has to wade through an awful lot of tangents and unnecessary details to get to it" (Veerson, p.44). Another mixed review was given by Raleigh Johnson of The Washington Post Magazine: "Dolores Claiborne is di
fferent than many of King's other works, but it still works. As a die-hard King fan, I can appreciate the way King integrated Gerald's Game into this book and vice versa. Okay, it won't knock your socks off but give it a whirl-the dialogue is worth the
effort" (Johnson, p.32). Finally, there were the blatant thumbs-down reviews: "King really fails in this novel and in doing so, fails his fans. This sappy, trite, predictable tale lacks strong dialogue, pace, coherence and everything else that King is renowned for. What a disa
ppointment." John Micheals, an eleventh grade student and long time fan of Stephen King gave this critique of the novel in his school newspaper, The Hawk Talk (Micheals, While Dolores Claiborne topped the best seller charts (surprise, surprise), its sales were no where near the numbers that King's other bestsellers including Misery, It, or Pet Sematary produced (Manwaring, p.212). Obviously, this is due to the drastic
change in its contents and style in which it is presented. There are no creatures, the pace is slower and the suspense is subtle; unlike the malevolent clowns, dual personality torturers, and morbid existences prevalent in his more popular novels. Howev
er, when the movie version produced by Paramount Pictures came out in 1995, book sales rose (Manwaring, p. 212). The movie did fairly well at the box office and received, on the whole, an affirmative response from critics. "Bates' scenes with Leigh ar
e particularly chewy. Confrontations between "crude" parent and "sophisticated" child have long been a dramatic commonplace, but both actresses seem hell-bent to get to the core of their characters, and their interaction has all the tension and pleasur
e of a great pitchers' duel" Cagle, p. 20). I would add that the two are aided by a pithy script. Inquiring about Selena's love life, Dolores (Kathy Bates) asks, "You're telling me there's nobody?" and Selena drawls back, "I'm telling you there's a lot
of nobodies"?as neat a summation of some career women's lot as you're likely to find. As for Bates, King's visions have afforded her the opportunity to make somebodies out of characters that Hollywood, more often than not, likes to pass over. Th
e cast included Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kathy Bates, all of whom I find deliver extraordinary performances, particularly Kathy Bates in the starring role. Jennifer landed "Georgia" after doing this film when director Tim Bates s
aw her performance as Selena the sexually abused girl in Dolores Claiborne, he immediately cast her. The film went on to win many awards, including the Sundance Film Festival award. Kathy Bates reconstituted her acting prowess image after Fried Green To
matoes failed and Christopher Plummer, an actor who had long been in hiding, was grateful for an opportunity for employment once again. In forming these characters and their complexities, King proves that thrillers are not the only domain he has mastered. Through Dolores's meandering monologue, the reader comes to know a woman who has been tormented by events in her past that would have
crushed any normal individual. Dolores may be crude and irritating, but she has an inner strength that has seen her through tough times. At no point in Dolores Claiborne is its eponymous protagonist tied to a railroad track or strapped down in the
path of a rapidly impending train or buzz saw. And a good thing too, for this adaptation of Stephen King's best seller (does he write anything else?) also lacks a hero, or indeed any remotely admirable masculine figure, eager to race to her rescue. These omissions are not careless, King is a storyteller who boldly uses the most primitive and melodramatic forms to explore very basic emotional issues, and this is his fantasia on feminist themes. Dolores (Kathy Bates) in some ways resembles the heroin
e of a gaslit theatrical enterprise of the 19th century. She is haunted by an ancient crime, stands falsely accused of a new one and is bedeviled by a policeman (Christopher Plummer) who could give Les' Miserables Inspector Javert lessons in sneering imp
lacability. But she is also tough minded, coarse tongued woman who is supporting herself by taking care of Mrs. Donovan (Judy Parfitt), a rich bitch invalid, and mourning her estrangement from Selena, her deeply disturbed daughter, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. P
recisely because of the absence of decent men in her life, Dolores is obliged to combine traditional masculine and feminine roles in a surprising, ultimately endearing persona. Dolores's love for her daughter is vivid in the agonizing work she attends to each day for several years-Vera Donovan. Vera, an old, rich, widow demands nothing less than everything from Dolores and she (Dolores) takes it all with her chin up as she save
s up her money for Selena's future. Despite Selena's cold and ungrateful behavior towards her mother, she (Selena) receives nothing but the utmost affection and patience in return. Selena's character is clearly depicted as well. Her mannerisms are
particularly emphasized, including her bouts of hallucinations, delusions, anxiety attacks and general nervous habits. These behavioral patterns serve as clues, a foreshadowing of the ominous childhood that will be disclosed later in the novel. When she
argues with her mother as an adult, it's always Selena who gets the last word in, but not without stuttering or being flustered. And the villain? Why, he's as broadly written (by Tony Gilroy) and played (by David Strathairn) as anyone who ever twirled a wickedly waxed mustache. A drunk and wife-beater, Joe St. George is Dolores's husband and Selena's father-so suspiciously swee
t with the latter that we know long before we're told that he lusted unnaturally for her when she was a child and is the source of her repressed memories?and more than deserves the bad end Dolores arranges for him. But that's only half the story, for King is never short when it comes to plotting. Working us toward the fairly easy verdict of justifiable homicide in Joe's death, King must also relieve us of our rather trumped-up suspicions about Dolores's role
in the death of Mrs. Donovan and arrange a just reward for the years of misery Dolores has endured. Yet many critics felt otherwise about the performances in "Dolores Claiborne." Says Richard Alleva of Commonwealth magazine, "Jennifer Jason Leigh, a frowning face under schoolgirl bangs, jabs a cigarette in and out of her mouth and furtively studies the
ground. Those aren't the salient features of her performance; they are the only features" (Alleva, p.61). "Christopher Plummer, an actor of genius, executes plummy vocal tricks to pick up his paycheck" quips Don Tramont of Variety (Tramont, p. 106).
"The best performance is by Kathy Bates. This actress had inalienable force and dignity, and, in the flashbacks, becomes younger amazingly without much reliance on make-up" (Cagle, p.20). Cagle goes on to speak about the film's production and direction
. The use of narrated flashbacks and histrionic lead ins such as "It was then that I remembered those forever-lost days of horse-drawn carriages and suitors at the door.." are obsolete but even the use of one of the latest devices is cliched. This l
atest artifice of using youthful versions of the characters to share the same shot with their older selves (present tense in the foreground, the past in the back) is just as corny when it's employed as mechanically as the director uses it here. Enough of other people's opinions, now let's focus on the most important critic-me. In examining the plot and style in which King formulates Dolores Claiborne, King has grappled with the consequences of cruelty, in this case the struggle of a woman who l
ives as a poor but proud housewife, against her physically and sexually abusive husband, Joe. Sometimes it seems the point of this exercise is simply to complicate?mainly by arbitrarily withholding vital information?what is, in its emotional essence, a no
t very complicated matter. But the sensible formality of Taylor Hackford's direction has the effect of cooling the film's narrative frenzies and helping the actors dig some simple, truthful stuff out of the hubbub. There is something great in the soul f
ood of Bates' work, which is at once sweet and fierce, hesitant and determined. She seems always to be surprising herself with her actions, brushing aside the calculations of the story with the sheer force of humanity. The narrative consists of Dolores's bumpy, uninterrupted first-person confession, told after she is accused of causing the death of Vera Donovan, a cantankerous, wheelchair-bound widow. For most of her adult life, Dolores has been Vera's housekeeper an
d, later on, her nurse. Though separated by social class, the women had something in common: both had cruel, unloving husbands who died as a result of apparent accidents. I say apparent because, as the viewer or reader will soon deduce, the circumstance
s surrounding both of these men's deaths are mysterious and inconclusive. Not surprisingly, the core of the novel is Dolores's agonizingly suspenseful recollection of the events leading to her husband's death. Mr. King uses vernacular speech to fashion a strong heroine, but he confuses vulgarity with honesty and burden's Dol
ores's dialect with too many obscenities and banalities. In a gimmicky plot twist, Mr. King also unconvincingly implies the existence of a psychic sisterhood of abused women. Also, he needlessly prolongs his unbelievably upbeat conclusion to tie up m
inor plot threads. Nevertheless, Stephen King's compassionate observation of a mother who destroys her family to protect her children proves that King can do more than simply frighten his readers.
Bibliography Alleva, Richard. "King's Creation is Creatureless." Commonwealth. February 1993, p. 61.
Baynon, Christine. "The Dark Side Part 16." Redbook. August 1995. P.12. Cagle, Jessica. "Leigh, Bates and Plummer's New Day Job." Entertainment Weekly. May 1995, pp.20-28.
Darduo, Jack. "King's Mother Figure." Newsweek. January 1993., p. 111. Gaylart, Jeremy. "King's Quick Fixes." Time. January 1993., p.59. Jivaw, Masterson, and Micheals. America On Line-EROLS. Johnson, Raleigh. "It Take Two To Strangle." The Washington Post Magazine. May 1995, p.32.
Manwaring, Andrew. "King Size." Consumer's Digest. March 1993., p.212. Tramont, Don. "Claiborne Strikes." Variety. June 1995., p. 106. Veerson, Jennifer. "Not the Icing on The Cake." Boston Globe. June 1995, p.44.

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