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Tabloid, Inc. provides the first extended study of the rich exchange between New York’s tabloid press and other narrative frames, including Hollywood crime film, museum exhibits, and hard-boiled fiction. Armed with hard-to-find early issues of the New York Daily News, the New York Daily Mirror, and the Evening Graphic, V. Penelope Pelizzon and Nancy M. West trace crime stories from the late 1920s through the 1940s across often-contentious borders between different narrative sites. Rather than dismissing the early tabloids as fodder for “gutter vamps and backyard sheiks,” as one critic called them, the authors treat these papers as distinctive literary venues typified by extreme flexibility in storytelling. The papers’ historically denigrated social status prompts the authors to study what they call “narrative mobility”?the process by which a story, in transiting from one medium, genre, or mode to another, reveals the underlying class boundaries that circumscribe that movement. Combining narrative theory with cultural, literary, and film studies, Tabloid, Inc. marshals a wealth of little-seen archival material that includes not only the pages of the tabloids themselves but also Hollywood press books, studio correspondence, and fabulous though now-forgotten movies.
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V. Penelope Pelizzon is associate professor and director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Nancy M. West is associate professor of English at the University of Missouri.Review:
“How is it that tabloids still seem trashy while crime films like The Public Enemy and Double Indemnity look artier by the year? Pelizzon and West have tackled this and other stubborn intermedial questions by examining tabloid reporting and Hollywood crime films side by side. Their ingenious approach, the diligence of their historical and textual research, and their coinage of narrative mobility to frame the process by which American cinema and other media appropriated sensationalist journalism in the 1920s and 1930s (and beyond) will prove invaluable to critics and theorists wishing to address intermedia adaptation without slighting the political questions of class and taste.” —Paul Young, English and Film Studies, Vanderbilt University
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