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Since the 1920s the use of romantic features in the tough masculinist narratives of American hard-boiled fiction has often surprised its readers. Through an exploration of fiction written by four major hard-boiled writers (Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Horace McCoy), this study explains the genre's fascination with romance from a critical Cultural Studies perspective. It focuses not only on the use of the theme of the waste land and Gothic conventions, but also on the subversion of romance and its ideal hero. The study argues that the romanticism and pathos evident in the genre are antimodern and nostalgic yearnings for a lost world of true individualism and manhood.
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The Author: Jopi Nyman, born in 1966, was educated at the Universities of Joensuu, Finland, and East London, UK. He is currently employed as Researcher in English at the University of Joensuu, Finland. He is the author of Men Alone: Masculinity, Individualism, and Hard-Boiled Fiction (1997).
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