Chapter 42. Joyce Carol Oates

  1. David Seed Professor
  1. Gavin Cologne-Brookes Professor

Published Online: 5 NOV 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444310108.ch42

A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction

A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction

How to Cite

Cologne-Brookes, G. (2009) Joyce Carol Oates, in A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction (ed D. Seed), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444310108.ch42

Editor Information

  1. University of Liverpool, UK

Author Information

  1. Bath Spa University, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2009
  2. Published Print: 16 OCT 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405146913

Online ISBN: 9781444310108



  • Joyce Carol Oates - variety, her immense insight, and sustained quality of writing;
  • Oates's fiction - an exercise in “Delirium and Detachment”;
  • “The great American adventure has always been one of social ascension”;
  • Oates's dual role as writer and teacher – Joyce Carol Oates and Joyce Smith;
  • The Sweet Enemy - staged at the Actors' Playhouse, New York, 1965;
  • Black Water, as opera - published “Slow” - third-person story in The Assignation (1988);
  • Oates's fiction shares thematic preoccupations - John Updike calling it “projected anxieties”;
  • Son of the Morning (1978) - preacher journeying to spiritual and physical exhaustion;
  • novels of the eighties - divided into phases;
  • Last Days (1984), Raven's Wing (1986) and The Assignation (1988)


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Overview

  • The Sixties and Seventies

  • The Eighties

  • The Nineties into the Twenty-First Century

  • References and Further Reading