Yet another mid-70s inflection point
(See "Calling all chart geeks!" for previous discussion.) A lot of things happened in the mid-70s -- I'd argue a change in the constitutional order began then, or would, if I had my analytical ducks lined up -- including the flattening of real wages and the beginnings of "income inequality" as we have come to know it today. And here's something else that happened, from the Atlantic:
Overall, the only emotion that's become more prevalent over time is "fear," which has occurred in books much more frequently since the 1970s. Maybe we can thank Stephen King for that.
So, as the chart shows, "fear" began to pull away from other emotions in literature (that is, in the imagination) in the mid-70s, along with so much else. I wouldn't blame Stephen King, though.
I'd blame financialization and the coming of the market state.