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Feast of ExcessA Cultural History of the New Sensibility$
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George Cotkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.001.0001

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Ever Mysterious

Ever Mysterious

Patricia Highsmith 1955

Chapter:
(p.63) { 4 } Ever Mysterious
Source:
Feast of Excess
Author(s):

George Cotkin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.003.0006

Highsmith published two novels in 1955, both celebrating liberation from traditional moral values. In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Highsmith deals with central subjects of the New Sensibility—madness and violence. Most importantly, the criminal, a man without fixed identity, manages not only to kill others and profit from it but to keep his ill-gotten gains. In Strangers on a Train, Highsmith digs into the seductive power of madness and how it can draw innocents into its web. The chapter also examines Highsmith’s personal obsession as captured in a pulp fiction novel, published two years earlier, The Price of Salt (published under the name Claire Morgan). Here Highsmith depicted a lesbian love affair which, contrary to common portrayals of the era, does not end with disgrace. The chapter fits these novels within the context of lesbian and sexual liberation in the period.

Keywords:   Patricia Highsmith, Claire Morgan, lesbian, mystery novel, pulp fiction, Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Price of Salt

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