Stock Image

Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s

Polito, Robert

ISBN 10: 1883011469 / ISBN 13: 9781883011468
Published by Library of America, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1997
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From citynightsbooks (Allston, MA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since August 17, 2004

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 45.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: Free Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Stated first printing. Includes novels by James M. Cain, Cornell Woolrich, Kenneth Fearing and others. Red cloth binding, red/gilt titles at spine, ribbon bookmark. No DJ as issued. In tan slipcase. Book and slipcase both fine. 990 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 9088

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and...

Publisher: Library of America, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


“The most important collection of crime fiction ever published in the United States.” — Ed Gorman

Evolving out of the terse and violent style of the pulp magazines, noir fiction expanded over the decades into a varied, innovative and profoundly influential body of writing. The eleven novels in The Library of America’s adventurous two-volume collection taps deep roots in the American literary imagination, exploring themes of crime, guilt, deception, obsessive passion, murder, and the disintegrating psyche. With visionary and often subversive force they create a dark and violent mythology out of the most commonplace elements of modern life.

James M. Cain’s pioneering novel of murder and adultery along the California highway, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), shocked contemporaries with its laconic toughness and fierce sexuality.

Horace McCoy’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1935) uses truncated rhythms and a unique narrative structure to turn its account of a Hollywood dance marathon into an unforgettable evocation of social chaos and personal desperation.

In Thieves Like Us (1937), Edward Anderson vividly brings to life the dusty roads and back-country hideouts where a fugitive band of Oklahoma outlaws plays out its destiny.

The Big Clock (1946), an ingenious novel of pursuit and evasion by the poet Kenneth Fearing, is set by contrast in the dense and neurotic inner world of a giant publishing corporation under the thumb of a warped and ultimately murderous chief executive.

William Lindsay Gresham’s controversial Nightmare Alley (1946), a ferocious psychological portrait of a charismatic carnival hustler, creates an unforgettable atmosphere of duplicity, corruption, and self-destruction.

I Married a Dead Man
 (1948), a tale of switched identity set in the anxious suburbs, is perhaps the most striking novel of Cornell Woolrich, who found in the techniques of the gothic thriller the means to express an overpowering sense of personal doom.

Disturbing, poetic, anarchic, punctuated by terrifying bursts of rage and paranoia and powerfully evocative of the lost and desperate sidestreets of American life, these are underground classics now made widely and permanently available.


Literature and film buffs will be delighted by this collection of pulp novels, most of which were made into important films. James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice is a literary masterpiece with its spare prose invoking a savage, sexy, desperate world. It inspired no less than three great movies: Luchino Visconti's classic Ossessione, in 1942; the 1946 remake, starring John Garfield and Lana Turner and directed by the extraordinary Tay Garnett; and Bob Rafelson's underrated 1981 version with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. When you read the magnificent source for these movies, you'll be astonished at how three different incarnations could all, in their own ways, be faithful to the novel.

Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man also became three movies: No Man of Her Own, with Barbara Stanwyk; the French I Married a Shadow; and the American comedy, Mrs. Winterborne, which starred Shirley MacLaine and Ricki Lake. Edward Anderson's vivid Thieves Like Us was transformed into They Live by Night, Nicholas Ray's first important movie and one of the seminal noir films of the 1940s. It was brilliantly remade in 1974 by the great revisionist director Robert Altman. Kenneth Fearing's The Big Clock was transformed into a marvelous film starring Charles Laughton; 40 years later, the same source, retitled No Way Out, brought Kevin Costner to stardom. William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley was the source for Tyrone Power's best movie; Horace McCoy's experimental They Shoot Horses, Don't They? became one of the seminal films of the 1960s.

These dark, evocative novels, when taken together, are a fascinating study of how words can inspire a magnificent variety of cinematic images and styles.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

citynightsbooks allows/refunds within the Abebooks' guidelines. Please refer to their policy on this matter and contact us first via e-mail or telephone.

Shipping Terms:

All books shipped with foam board or corrugated protection and bubblewrap. All
hardcovers with dust jackets shipped with archival covers. Books shipped within 48
hours via USPS, media mail or priority (specify preference). Please refer to
shipping chart for specific costs.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express