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The Ohio State University Press
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summary
Stanley Orr’s Darkly Perfect World offers a large-scale historical narrative about the way American crime fiction and film have changed throughout the twentieth century. Orr argues that films noirs and noir fictions dramatize Raymond Chandler’s pronouncement that “Even in death, a man has a right to his own identity.” Orr illuminates a noir ethos committed to “authenticating alienation”: subjectivity managed through radical polarization of Self and Other. Distinguishing a heretofore unrecognized context for American noir, Orr demonstrates that Chandler and Dashiell Hammett arrive at this subject within and against the colonial adventure genre. While the renegades of Joseph Conrad and Louis Becke project a figure vulnerable to shifts in cultural context, the noir protagonist exemplifies alienated selfhood and often performs a “continental operation” against the slippages of the colonial adventurer. But even as Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and other noir virtuosi persist with this revision of late Victorian adventure, Chester Himes, Dorothy Hughes, and John Okada experiment with hard-boiled alienation for a subversion of noir that resonates throughout literary postmodernism. In their respective avant-garde novels, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, and Paul Auster expose what K.W. Jeter terms the “darkly perfect world” of noir, thus giving rise to and enabling the con men and “connected guys” of contemporary films noirs such as Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects, David Fincher’s Seven, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Ties Are Out
  2. pp. 1-13
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  1. 1. The Continental Operations of Dashiell Hammett
  2. pp. 14-52
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  1. 2. Raymond Chandler's Semi-Tropical Romance
  2. pp. 53-87
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  1. 3. Dark Places: Late-Victorian Adventure and Film Noir
  2. pp. 88-105
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  1. 4. Veterans of Noir: Rewriting the Good War with Chester Himes, Dorothy B. Hughes, and John Okada
  2. pp. 106-132
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  1. 5. Noir and the Postmodern Novel
  2. pp. 133-165
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  1. 6. To Look at Him or Read Him: The Confidence Man in Postmodernist Film Noir
  2. pp. 166-197
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  1. Conclusion: Connected Guys: The Reconstructed Subject of 1990s Film Noir
  2. pp. 198-210
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 211-218
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 219-234
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 235-248
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814271292
Related ISBN
9780814211250
MARC Record
OCLC
899261234
Pages
296
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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