Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Fiction

Overview

Leonard Cassuto's cultural history links the testosterone-saturated heroes of American crime stories to the sensitive women of the nineteenth-century sentimental novel. From classics like The Big Sleep and The Talented Mr. Ripley to neglected paperback gems, Cassuto chronicles the dialogue—centered on the power of sympathy—between these popular genres and the sweeping social changes of the twentieth century, ending with a surprising connection between today's serial killers and ...

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Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Fiction

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Overview

Leonard Cassuto's cultural history links the testosterone-saturated heroes of American crime stories to the sensitive women of the nineteenth-century sentimental novel. From classics like The Big Sleep and The Talented Mr. Ripley to neglected paperback gems, Cassuto chronicles the dialogue—centered on the power of sympathy—between these popular genres and the sweeping social changes of the twentieth century, ending with a surprising connection between today's serial killers and the domestic fictions of long ago.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Studies
This is an erudite, illuminating and highly readable study
African American Review
Cassuto has profitably plowed new ground in this study. It's certain to become an essential document for undersatnding crime fiction's inner workings.
African-American Review

Cassuto has profitably plowed new ground in this study. It's certain to become an essential document for undersatnding crime fiction's inner workings.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231126915
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2008
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Leonard Cassuto is professor of English at Fordham University and an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in academic journals and popular periodicals ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Salon.com. He is the author of The Inhuman Race: The Racial Grotesque in American Literature and Culture and the general editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the American Novel.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Sentimentality, Sympathy, Serial Killers
(Dashiell Hammett, Charles Willeford, and others)
Part I. Revising the Roots of the Hard-Boiled Tradition: The 1920s
1. Crime and Sympathy
(Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway)
2. Hammett and the Hard-Boiled Sentimental
Part II. Reading the Hard-Boiled Sentimental: From the Thirties to the Fifties
3. Depression Domesticity
(James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler. Also Horace McCoy, Damon Runyon, Erskine Caldwell)
4. The Sentimental Action Hero in Cold War Crime Stories
(Raymond Chandler, David Goodis, John D. MacDonald, William P. McGivern, Wade Miller, John Evans [aka Howard Browne]. Also Cornell Woolrich, Mickey Spillane, Gil Brewer)
5. Sentimental Perversion: The Canonized Nonconformists of the Fifties
(Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith)
Part III: Crime Fiction at the Sentimental Apocalypse: The Rise of the Hard-Boiled Domestic Detective and the Serial Killer from the Sixties to the Present
6. The Homely Heart of the Hard-Boiled: Ross Macdonald and John D. MacDonald
(Ross Macdonald, John D. MacDonald, Robert B. Parker, Robert Bloch)
7. Hard-Boiled Therapists, Hard-Boiled Women, and a Vigilante
(Thomas Harris, Lawrence Block, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, and others)
8. Shades of Professional Sympathy: Race, Crime, Detection
(Chester Himes, Walter Mosley, William P. McGivern, Dennis Lehane, and others)
9. The Rise of the Serial Killer
(Robert Finnegan, Truman Capote, Thomas Harris. Also Robert Bloch, John D. MacDonald, Dean Koontz, Gil Brewer, Alice Sebold, and others)
Notes Selected Bibliography Acknowledgments Index

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