Literary Precedents for The Exorcist

William Peter Blatty
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tike many vastly popular books, The Exorcist drew on different genres and added some new twists, for a result that was exciting but also met familiar needs or desires in the reader. Blatty's prece dents were as diverse as the religious novel, the detective novel, the horror or Gothic, and the celebrity best seller. The central interest in possession and exorcism allowed Blatty to blend various genre-tropes without seriously violating the expectations of the individual genres.

As Carroll points out, Blatty's use of the "complex discovery plot" also characterizes Gothic landmarks such as Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897; see separate entry); it is, moreover, quite similar to the plot of the genre detective story (it may be no coincidence that Edgar Allen Poe is a forefather in both fields). More immediately, Ira Levin had used the same approach in Rosemary's Baby—published just as Blatty began The Exorcist&mdash...

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This section contains 482 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Exorcist Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Exorcist from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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