William Peter Blatty The Exorcist

ISBN 13: 9780061007224

The Exorcist

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9780061007224: The Exorcist

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

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Review:

When originally published in 1971, The Exorcist became not only a bestselling literary phenomenon, but one of the most frightening and controversial novels ever written. (When the author adapted his book to the screen two years later, it then became one of the most terrifying movies ever made.) The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate. Purposefully raw and profane, this novel still has the extraordinary ability to literally shock us into forgetting that it is "just a story." The Exorcist remains a truly unforgettable reading experience. Blatty published a sequel, Legion, in 1983. --Stanley Wiater

From the Author:


 In January 1968, I  rented a cabin in Lake Tahoe, California to start
 a novel about demonic possession that I'd been thinking  about
 for many years. I'd been driven to it, actually: I was a writer of
 comic novels and farcical screenplays such as A Shot  in the Dark
 with almost all of my income derived from films; but because the
 season for "funny"  had abruptly turned dry and no studio would
 hire me for anything non-comedic, I had reached James Thurber's
 stage of desperation when, as he wrote in a "Preface to His Life,"
 comedy writers sometimes take to "calling their home from their
 office, or their office from their home, asking for themselves, and
 then hanging up in hard-breathing relief upon being told they
 "weren't in.'" My breaking point came, I suppose, when at the Van
  Nuys, California, unemployment office I spotted my movie agent
  in a line three down from mine. And so the cabin in Tahoe where I
 was destined to become the caretaker in Stephen King's terrifying
 The Shining, typing my version of "All work and no play makes
 Jack a dull boy" hour after hour, day after day, for over six weeks as
 I kept changing the date in my opening  paragraph from "April 1"
 to April something else, because each time I would read the page
 aloud, the rhythm of the lines seemed to change, a maddening
 cycle of emptiness and insecurity -- magnified, I suppose, by the
 fact that I had no clear plot for the novel in mind --  that continued
 until I at last gave up the cabin  and hoped for better luck back
 "home," a clapboard raccoon-surrounded  guest house in the hills
 of  Encino owned by a former Hungarian opera star who had
 purchased the property from the luminous film actress, Angela
 Lansbury, and where  I finally overcame the block by realizing  that
 I was starting the novel in the wrong place, namely the Georgetown
 section of Washington, D.C., as opposed to northern Iraq. Almost a
 year later I completed a first draft of the novel. At the request of my
 editors at Harper and Row, I did make two  quick changes: cleaning
 up Chris MacNeil's potty mouth, and  making the ending "less obvious."
 But because of a dire financial circumstance, I had not another day
 to devote to the manuscript, so that when I received a life-saving
 offer to adapt Calder Willingham's novel Providence Island for the
 screen for Paul Newman's film company, I  instantly accepted and left
 my novel to find its fate. For most of these past forty years I have rued
 not having done a thorough second draft and careful polish of the
 dialogue and prose. But now, like an answer to a prayer, this fortieth
 anniversary  of the novel  has given me not only the opportunity
 to do another draft,  but to do it at a time in my life -- I will be 84 this
 coming January -- when it might not be totally unreasonable to hope
 that my  abilities, such as they are, have at least somewhat improved,
 and for all of this I say, Deo gratias!
                                                           -- William Peter Blatty

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