Publisher description for The street was mine : white masculinity and urban space in hardboiled fiction and film noir / by Megan E. Abbott.
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This book considers a recurrent figure in American literature: the solitary white man moving through urban space. The descendent of 19th-century frontier and western heroes, the figure reemerges in 1930s-’50s America as the “tough guy.”
The Street Was Mine looks to the tough guy in the works of hardboiled novelists Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep) and James M. Cain (Double Indemnity) and their popular film noir adaptations. Focusing on the way he negotiates racial and gender “otherness,”
this study argues that the tough guy embodies the promise of an impervious white masculinity amidst the turmoil of the Depression through the beginnings of the Cold War. The book concludes with an analysis of Chester Himes, whose Harlem crime novels (For Love of Imabelle) unleash a ferocious revisionary critique of the tough guy tradition.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Detective and mystery stories, American History and criticism, Detective and mystery films United States History and criticism, Film noir United States History and criticism, City and town life in motion pictures, Private investigators in literature, City and town life in literature, Masculinity in literature, White men in literature, Men in motion pictures, Race in literature, Men in literature