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Hard-Boiled Fiction and Dark Romanticism


Jopi Nyman

Since the 1920s the use of romantic features in the tough masculinist narratives of American hard-boiled fiction has often surprised its readers. Through an exploration of fiction written by four major hard-boiled writers (Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Horace McCoy), this study explains the genre's fascination with romance from a critical Cultural Studies perspective. It focuses not only on the use of the theme of the waste land and Gothic conventions, but also on the subversion of romance and its ideal hero. The study argues that the romanticism and pathos evident in the genre are antimodern and nostalgic yearnings for a lost world of true individualism and manhood.


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Acknowledgements 7


7 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS A number of individuals have assisted me in the course of researching and writing this monograph. In particular, I want to thank Dr Marja-Leena Hakkarainen, now Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University ofTurku, Finland, who was once again kind enough to read and comment on the whole manuscript. My colleague Dr John A Stotesbury, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Joensuu, Finland, proofread the text with care and commented on my use of English. In addition, I should like to thank my editor at Peter Lang, Ms Ute Winkelkotter, for all her help, and also the editor of the series, Prof Dr Gunter Ahrends, of the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Germany. Thanks are also due to the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Joensuu for its generous financial support. This book is dedicated to Kristiina. This page intentionally left blank

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