“A fearless writer” (Los Angeles Times) who has had “one of the towering careers in American letters” (Washington Post), Joyce Carol Oates returns with a novel unlike anything else she has written. Monumental and compelling, The Accursed, set in Princeton, blends history, the occult, and psychological insight in a visionary story about possession, power, and loss.
Please come out for this special event with Joyce Carol Oates. She will be introduced by Sheila Kohler.
Oates actually began working on The Accursed in 1984, after moving to Princeton. After abandoning the project for nearly thirty years, she revisited the subject and completed the manuscript within several months. Fascinated by her adopted hometown’s storied history, Oates shaped her plot around the years 1905-06, fashioning a haunting scenario that hinges on disruptive dreams of ghosts and vampires, and a shape-shifting presence who just might be the devil. Among those plagued by “accursed” visions are real-life figures: retired president Grover Cleveland, sitting president Theodore Roosevelt and future president Woodrow Wilson (then president of Princeton University), and writers Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and Samuel Clemens. Added to the erotically charged and psychologically disturbing happenings is a fictitious cast shaped with Oates’s customary depth of characterization. The result is an unforgettable exploration of Anglo-Saxon privilege and retribution—haunting, tragic, yet laced with savage comedy.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of honors too numerous to list. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the New York Times bestsellers The Falls (winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter. She is Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Oates teaches creative writing at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts.