The American Roman Noir: Hammett, Cain, and Chandler / Edition 1

The American Roman Noir: Hammett, Cain, and Chandler / Edition 1

by William Marling
     
 

ISBN-10: 0820320811

ISBN-13: 9780820320816

Pub. Date: 10/01/1998

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

In The American Roman Noir, William Marling reads classic hard-boiled fiction and film in the contexts of narrative theories and American social and cultural history. His search for the origins of the dark narratives that emerged during the 1920s and 1930s leads to a sweeping critique of Jazz-Age and Depression-era culture. Integrating economic history,

…  See more details below

Overview

In The American Roman Noir, William Marling reads classic hard-boiled fiction and film in the contexts of narrative theories and American social and cultural history. His search for the origins of the dark narratives that emerged during the 1920s and 1930s leads to a sweeping critique of Jazz-Age and Depression-era culture. Integrating economic history, biography, consumer product design, narrative analysis, and film scholarship, Marling makes new connections between events of the 1920s and 1930s and the modes, styles, and genres of their representation.

At the center of Marling's approach is the concept of "prodigality": how narrative represents having, and having had, too much. Never before in the country, he argues, did wealth impinge on the national conscience as in the 1920s, and never was such conscience so sharply rebuked as in the 1930s. What, asks Marling, were the paradigms that explained accumulation and windfall, waste and failure? Marling first establishes a theoretical and historical context for the notion of prodigality. Among the topics he discusses are such watershed events as the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti and the premiere of the first sound movie, The Jazz Singer; technology's alteration of Americans' perceptive and figurative habits; and the shift from synecdochical to metonymical values entailed by a consumer society.

Marling then considers six noir classics, relating them to their authors' own lives and to the milieu of prodigality that produced them and which they sought to explain: Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon, James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, and Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely. Reading these narratives first as novels, then as films, Marling shows how they employed the prodigality fabula's variations and ancillary value systems to help Americans adapt—for better or worse—to a society driven by economic and technological forces beyond their control.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820320816
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
10/01/1998
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
963,199
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: 19271
1The Prodigal's Tale11
2Metonymic Sources39
Technology39
The Economy52
Design72
3Dashiell Hammett, Copywriter93
Red Harvest106
The Maltese Falcon126
4James M. Cain, Journalist148
The Postman Always Rings Twice161
Double Indemnity175
Technique and Technology184
5Raymond Chandler, Oil Executive188
The Big Sleep201
Farewell, My Lovely216
6From Roman Noir to Film Noir237
Notes271
Works Cited289
Index299

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >