The Closet and the Clown

From the moment Pennywise the clown crawled out of the sewer and into the cultural landscape he has terrified horror fans. In this study of Stephen King’s 1986 opus It, John R. DeLamar Jr. questions why straight society feared King’s monstrous killer clown, while queer society found a chilling compatriot. Using cutting edge queer theory, psychoanalysis, and cultural studies to examine the way Pennywise and the novel It tapped into national fears about the emergent AIDS epidemic, and draws a radical comparison to HIV/AIDS and the unnamed monster at the heart of King’s novel. This daring and original study of “America’s Storyteller” opens the door to a greater queer scholarship of the most popular and influential author of the Twentieth Century.

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