Literary Precedents for Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Many mainstream and genre writers influenced Bradbury's work. Of special interest in connection with Something Wicked This Way Comes are Poe, such German Romantic writers as E. T. A. Hoffmann and Ludwig Tieck with their frequent symbolic use of mirrors and mysterious transformations, and, most directly, Charles Finney, whose The Circus of Dr. Lao (1936) Bradbury had himself anthologized some six years earlier. Dr. Lao is a basically beneficent character, but his circus, like Bradbury's, features a number of supernatural and potentially dangerous attractions. His role seems to be primarily to force those who visit his circus into facing and coming to terms with their own imperfections.

It should also be noted that Something Wicked This Way Comes may well be Bradbury's most influential work.

Any number of circus fantasies published over the last two decades show a considerable debt to it, among them Peter Beagle's clearly superior novel...

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This section contains 171 words
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Buy the Something Wicked This Way Comes Study Guide
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