Peter Straub

Peter Straub

"This article is about Peter Straub the novelist. For the German statesman, see Peter Straub (politician)."

Peter Francis Straub (born March 2, 1943 in Milwaukee, WisconsinRoberts, James P. "Famous Wisconsin Authors", Badger Books Inc., 2002, pp. 167-173. ISBN 1878569856.] ) is an American author and poet, most famous for his work in the horror genre. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, placing him among the most-honored horror authors in recent history. [cite web | url= | title=Honor roll:Horror authors | date=2007-11-17 | work=Award Annals ]

Life and literary career

At the age of seven, Straub was struck by a car, sustaining serious injuries.Morgan, John. " [ Stephen King scares up support for fallen friend] ", USA Today, Health section, published February 1, 2002, accessed April 29, 2008.] He was hospitalized for several months, and temporarily confined to a wheelchair after being released, until he had re-learned how to walk. Straub has said that the accident made him prematurely aware of his own mortality.

Straub read voraciously from an early age, but his literary interests did not please his parents; his father hoped that he would grow up to be a professional athlete, while his mother wanted him to be a Lutheran minister. [Roberts, p. 168.] He attended Milwaukee Country Day School on a scholarship, and, during his time there, began writing. [Roberts, p. 168.]

Straub earned an honors B.A. in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965, and an MA at Columbia University a year later. He briefly taught English at his alma mater, now known as the University School of Milwaukee, then moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 1969 to work on a Ph.D., and to start writing professionally. [ [ Peter Straub - Official Web Site ] ]

After mixed success with two attempts at literary mainstream novels in the mid-1970s ("Marriages" and "Under Venus" - the latter not even published until he had gained fame as a horror writer), Straub dabbled in the supernatural for the first time with "Julia" (1976). He then wrote "If You Could See Me Now" (1977), and came to widespread public attention with his fifth novel, "Ghost Story" (1979), which was a critical success and was later loosely adapted into a 1981 film starring Fred Astaire. Several horror novels followed, with growing success, including "The Talisman" and "Black House", two fantasy-horror collaborations with Straub's long-time friend and fellow author Stephen King.

After a fallow period, Straub re-emerged in 1988 with "Koko", a nonsupernatural (though horrific) Vietnam novel. "Koko" was followed in the early '90s by the related novels "Mystery" and "The Throat", which together with "Koko" make up the "Blue Rose Trilogy". These complex and intertwined novels extended Straub's explorations into metafiction and unreliable narrators.

Straub followed 1996's ambitious mainstream thriller "The Hellfire Club", which applied the lessons learned in the Blue Rose period to a more overtly gothic plot, with "Mr. X", dealing with a doppelgänger theme. In 2001, Straub and King reteamed for "Black House", a loose sequel to "The Talisman" tying that book in with King's Dark Tower Series. 2003 saw the publication of a new Straub novel "Lost Boy, Lost Girl" followed by the related "In the Night Room" (2004). Both of these novels won Stoker awards.

Straub edited the Library of America volume of the Tales of H. P. Lovecraft. His novel "Mr. X" also paid tribute to Lovecraft, as the eponymous Mr. X wrote in a similar style.

Straub has also published several books of poetry. "My Life in Pictures" appeared in 1971 as part of a series of six poetry pamphlets Straub published with his friend Thomas Tessier under the Seafront Press imprint while living in Dublin. In 1972 the more substantial chapbook "Ishmael" was published by Turret Books in London. Straub's third book of poetry, "Open Air", appeared later that same year from Irish University Press. The collection "Leeson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 - 1975" was published by Underwood-Miller in October 1983. This collection reprints much of "Ishmael" along with previously uncollected poems, but none of the poems from "Open Air".

Significant detail about the two collaborations with King may be found at A critical essay on Straub's horror work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book "The Modern Weird Tale" (2001). "At the Foot of the Story Tree", by Bill Sheehan, discusses Straub's work before 2000.

Rumors continue to circulate that King and Straub may collaborate on a final novel, finishing the tale of Jack Sawyer and the Talisman. King himself has stated in an interview that there will be such a novel sometime in the future.


*1971: "My Life in Pictures" (Poems)
*1972: "Ishmael" (Poems)
*1972: "Open Air" (Poems)
*1973: "Marriages"
*1976: "Julia"
*1977: "If You Could See Me Now"
*1979: "Ghost Story"
*1980: "Shadowland"
*1982: "The General's Wife"
*1983: "Floating Dragon"
*1983: "Leeson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 - 1975"
*1984: "The Talisman" (with Stephen King)
*1984: "Wild Animals" (collects "Julia", "If You Could See Me Now", and "Under Venus")
*1985: "Under Venus"
*1988: "Koko"; Winner of World Fantasy Award (1989)
*1990: "Mystery"
*1990: "Houses Without Doors"
*1990: "A Short Guide to the City" (short story)
*1990: "Mrs. God"
*1993: "The Throat"; Winner of Bram Stoker Award (1993)
*1995: "The Hellfire Club"
*1999: "Mr. X"; Winner of Bram Stoker Award (1999)
*2000: "Magic Terror"
*2001: "Black House" (with Stephen King)
*2003: "Lost Boy, Lost Girl"; Winner of Bram Stoker Award (2003)
*2004: "In The Night Room"; Winner of Bram Stoker Award (2004)
*2006: "Sides" (collection of non-fiction essays) (Cemetery Dance Publications, 2007) ISBN 1-58767-165-4
*2007: "5 Stories"
*2008: "POE’S CHILDREN" (upcoming anthology; October 2008)
*2009: "THE SKYLARK" (upcoming novel; Spring 2009)


Additional reading

*"Hauntings: The Official Peter Straub Bibliography", Michael R. Collings, Overlook Connection Press, 2000, ISBN 1-892950-15-4

ee also

* Doppelgänger

External links

* [ Official Web Site]
* [ Audio Interviews] by Don Swaim
* [ Peter Straub/Stephen King]
* [ Database containing descriptive bibliography, publishing history, reviews, and literary criticism of King and Straub's The Talisman]
* [ 1983, 1984, 1990 audio interviews with Peter Straub at Wired for] by Don Swaim
* [ Genealogy of Peter Francis Straub]

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