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American Noir (Boxed Set)

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Staff Reviews

Dashiell Hammett and
Raymond Chandler opened a Pandora’s Box of literary sin with the hardboiled
detective. In their wake came a group of writers who further explored the themes
of crime, guilt, and obsessive ardor. All the greats are here in this sleek two-volume
collection, everyone from James M. Cain and Jim Thompson to Patricia Highsmith
and Cornell Woolrich. Throughout this collection, you will find all the classic
tropes that help signify the genre; rainy city nights, wary drifters, femme
fatales, and that distinctive hardboiled dialogue. Many of these novels were
turned into wonderful film noir hits during the 40s and 50s. Fans of those
films take note, here are the sources.

— Neil


The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M.?Cain
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy
Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson
The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham
I Married a Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich

990 pages - 978-1-883011-46-8 Library of America volume #94

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Pick-Up by Charles Willeford
Down There by David Goodis
The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes

892 pages - 978-1-883011-49-9 Library of America volume #95

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.

About the Author

ROBERT POLITO, editor, is a poet, biographer, and critic whose Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson received the National Book Critics Circle Award. He directs the Graduate Writing Program at the New School and is the editor of David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s & 50s, also from The Library of America.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781598531534
ISBN-10: 1598531530
Publisher: Library of America
Publication Date: April 12th, 2012
Pages: 1882
Language: English