Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
I Am Legend: Introduction
I Am Legend: Plot Summary
I Am Legend: Detailed Summary & Analysis
I Am Legend: Themes
I Am Legend: Quotes
I Am Legend: Characters
I Am Legend: Symbols
I Am Legend: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Richard Matheson
Historical Context of I Am Legend
Other Books Related to I Am Legend
- Full Title: I Am Legend
- When Written: 1953
- Where Written: Los Angeles
- When Published: Summer 1954
- Literary Period: Cold War science fiction (sometimes called “Silver Age” sci-fi)
- Genre: Science fiction / Horror
- Setting: Los Angeles, 1976-1978
- Climax: The “new society” breaks into Robert Neville’s house.
- Antagonist: It’s difficulty to say who the antagonist of the novel is; one of the central themes of the book is that everyone is an antagonist to someone else. The “dead vampires,” the “new society” of living vampires, or even Robert Neville himself could be considered the novel’s antagonist.
- Point of View: Third person limited (following Robert Neville’s point of view).
Extra Credit for I Am Legend
The most famous writer you’ve never heard of. Even if you’ve never heard of Richard Matheson, you’re probably familiar with his work. He penned episodes of The Twilight Zone and wrote the stories on which the films The Incredible Shrinking Man, Real Steel, Duel, Jaws 3-D, and What Dreams May Come were based. I Am Legend alone was adapted for the cinema five times: in 1964, 1967, 1971, and twice in 2007. Matheson kept busy with TV and film writing—just three years before his death, he helped write a hilarious episode of the TV show Family Guy.
Famous fans. On the week Richard Matheson died, there was a massive outpouring of grief throughout the science-fiction/horror community. Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Roger Corman, Richard Kelly (the director of the cult classic Donnie Darko), George Romero (the director of Night of the Living Dead), and Edgar Wright (the director of Shaun of the Dead) were among the industry figures to express their sympathies for Matheson. Clearly, the guy had a lot of fans.