About this Item
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Title: Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s: ...
Publisher: Library of America, New York
Publication Date: 1997
Book Condition: Near Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: None
About this title
This adventurous two-volume collection presents a rich vein of modern American writing too often neglected in mainstream literary histories. Evolving out of the terse and violent hardboiled style of the pulp magazines, noir fiction expanded over the decades into a varied and innovative body of writing. Tapping deep roots in the American literary imagination, the novels in this volume explore 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. The raw power of their vernacular style has profoundly influenced contemporary American culture and writing.Review:
The best American crime novels deserve their place in the pantheon of American literature, but they hold special interest for cinema enthusiasts, who can both compare them to the movies they became and can roll imaginary films of the stories in their minds. Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s is the second of Library of America's two-volume anthology of underground U.S. fiction. The first anthology featured works from the 1930s and '40s that had been made into classic films noir. This volume focuses on fiction written after the crime genre had acquired conventions that younger writers toyed with and sometimes broke. The movies made from such stories were equally radical.
Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is the source for René Clément's bristling Purple Noon, a movie that features Alain Delon's quintessential performance. David Goodis's Down There inspired François Truffaut's neo-noir masterpiece Shoot the Piano Player. Jim Thompson, the brilliant author who scripted The Killing and Paths of Glory for Stanley Kubrick, wrote several novels that have been turned into movies, including The Grifters and The Getaway. He is represented here by one of his most uncompromising works, The Killer Inside Me, which was filmed by Burt Kennedy in 1976. Charles Willeford's Pick-Up and Chester Himes's The Real Cool Killers have not yet been made into movies, but the blistering prose and nihilistic worlds of these authors, and of all the writers represented in this volume, is astonishingly cinematic. This lovely hardcover edition contains biographical, textual, and explanatory notes.
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