In what literary time period was the book Something Wicked This Way Comes written?

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Something Wicked This Way Comesis part of the contemporary period of literature—being published in 1962. The movement that Bradbury fits into is colored by the emerging of popular fiction, paperback books that generally fall into specific genres like fantasy, science fiction, romance, or horror.

Bradbury’s story is less...

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Something Wicked This Way Comes is part of the contemporary period of literature—being published in 1962. The movement that Bradbury fits into is colored by the emerging of popular fiction, paperback books that generally fall into specific genres like fantasy, science fiction, romance, or horror.

Bradbury’s story is less like some of the other works of the period in that it doesn’t deal with the philosophy of existentialism—but was instead a forerunner to the popular horror novels of the late ’60s and ’70s. The story is a mix of horror and fantasy elements with a plot built on a coming of age story.

While it is considered popular fiction, at the time when Bradbury wrote it that genre and movement were newly developing, the story has since been classified as a children’s/young adult novel and fits in well with Bradbury’s other coming of age stories like Dandelion Wine and Farewell Summer. The use of horror, fantasy, and coming-of-age elements put the novel squarely in the realm of contemporary popular fiction.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes was written in 1962, which puts it near the end of modernism, or what is sometimes referred to as "late modernism." It also falls into the broad category of existentialism.

It should be noted that, while it ended up being a novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes was initially written as a screenplay, which makes it hard to categorize in literary terms.

Despite being grouped into these categories based on when it was written, Something Wicked This Way Comes doesn't easily fit the definition of modernism or existentialism. As a literary category, modernism is broadly defined by the author's desire to reject the classical rules of writing and produce something new or experimental. Something Wicked, on the other hand, is a fairly straightforward story told in a rather classical prosaic form. There is, however, one exception in which an entire chapter consists of a single sentence: "Nothing much else happened, all the rest of that day."

Given the fatalistic perspective of Will, Jim, and Will's father, the book also defies classical existentialism for the majority of the story. It is only towards the very end of the novel that the characters embrace their free-will and take control of their actions and circumstances.

Despite the heavy use of magic and other elements of fantasy common in modern and postmodern literature, Something Wicked is a very nostalgic story. Rather than rely on modern themes that were common in Bradbury's other stories, Something Wicked grapples with classic themes like friendship, coming of age, and the relationship between a father and son. For that reason, this story can be considered a mix of realism, modernism, and postmodernism.   

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