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>A question for the pop culture critics

>I’ve just started listening to an audiobook edition of Jane Eyre narrated by Juliet Stevenson. (Did anyone see her recent PBS Mystery turn? It was great.) Stevenson is terrific, but hearing the spooky scene in the Red Room makes me wonder if Stephen King has ever credited it as inspiration for the “Redrum” motif in The Shining? Does anyone know?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >I thought "redrum" came from murder spelled backwards.

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >Well, of course, yes, the plot requires it. I'm asking about King's choice to use the motif in the first place.

  3. >Red in Jane Eyre seemed to bespeak passion, esp. passion gone awry. Then the light falls and everything goes grey as her fury dies down … then the fear of death. It does sound like a Stephen King moment. Alas, I cannot tell you how well it meshes with King's book because all I know about The Shining is what I saw on a Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episode.

    *watches as train of thought hurtles off a cliff*

  4. Alex Flinn says:

    >"all I know about The Shining is what I saw on a Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror' episode."

    In which, of course, Todd Flanders was saying, "Red room," which would seem to shore up Roger's Jane Eyre theory.

    Embarrassing that I remember that!

  5. Brenda Bowen says:

    >So much in the early chapters of JANE EYRE reminds me of the beginning of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S/PHILOSPHER'S STONE. Did you also make that connection?

    I haven't read enough Stephen King (specifically, only three pages of CARRIE) to know King owes it all to Miss C. Bronte. I like to think he does.

    Juliet Stevenson in TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY leaves me weak.

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >Brenda, I remember the first chapters of HP as being comic in tone, with the kind of exaggerated wickedness that lets us read comfortably. I do think there is a debt to Jane Eyre, but filtered through a lot of other books that got there first.

  7. >I too found the first chapters of H. Potter comic, but what they reminded me of was STALKY AND COMPANY. Anyone else? (By odd circumstance I started reading HP before US reviews were out. My only excuse. weeks later everyone thought I was INSENSITIVE TO GREAT ART.

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