How Stephen King Became the Shakespeare of Nightmares

André Carrilho

With film adaptations of The Dark Tower and It lurking around the corner, novelist Benjamin Percy considers Stephen King’s impact on the American psyche.

"Didn’t you say this was the scariest book you’ve ever read?” My ten-year-old son had pulled the hardcover off the shelf and now held it with two hands. His shoulders slumped, as if weighed down by my own decades-old nightmares. The darkness of the dust jacket offset the red lettering of the title: It. A boat—folded from a newspaper and sealed with Turtle Wax—rushed on a current of rainw...