Rosemary’s Baby

The unmitigated classic that shaped the course of modern horror. Elevated Horror. Feminist Horror. Social. Queer. Outsider. Ira Levin's novel fits under all these umbrellas because of the characteristic empathy he brings to his portrayal of Rosemary Woodhouse, as she struggles to oppose the dark forces arrayed against her.

With its fusing of gothic literary tradition and recognizable, modern New York, Levin's classic almost single-handedly heralded in the era of modern horror, and was recently dubbed one of the 25 Most Significant New York City Novels From the Last 100 Years by the New York Times.

The slow burn tension-building. The is-it-real-or-imagined ambiguity. The dark wit. The terror of the everyday. Of one's neighbors. They all originated here. (Frequent misattribution to the 1968 film notwithstanding.)

The book's publication marked the first time since 1934's Rebecca that a horror novel appeared on Publisher's Weekly's annual best-seller list, and its supremely faithful 1968 cinematic adaptation marked only the fourth time a horror film received an Oscar (for Ruth Gordon's timeless turn as Minnie Castevet).

  • Levin modeled "The Bramford" after Manhattan's darkly-ornate Alwyn Court building, and named it in honor of Dracula's author Bram Stoker
  • Levin was an ardent Hitchcock fan; we suspect character Edward Hutchins (known in-book as "Hutch") is a tip-of-the-hat to Alfred Hitchcock (known in life as "Hitch")
  • In 1970, legendary film composer John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws, Schindler's List...) sought to musicalize Rosemary's Baby. Levin declined, only as – being a playwright as well as a novelist – he contemplated the possibility of writing a stage adaptation himself one day
  • Sorry, Internet – the book's actual publication date was April 13, 1967
Gallery

Created in 2017 in celebration of Rosemary's Baby's 50th anniversary, click below to read our feature about the novel's creation, "Rosemary's Baby Album."

(Above) "Rosemary's Baby Album"

(Above) Kiernan Shipka reads a good book in "Mad Men")

(Above) New York Phone Booth, 2009

Books
Click here to read an excerpt from "Rosemary's Baby"