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    • June 2002
    • 9780231114813
  • 288 Pages
  • 40 photos

  • Paperback
  • $28.00
  • / £19.50

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    • June 2002
    • 9780231506144
  • 288 Pages
  • 40 photos

  • E-book
  • $27.99
  • / £19.50

Black & White & Noir

America's Pulp Modernism

Paula Rabinowitz

Black & White & Noir explores America's pulp modernism through penetrating readings of the noir sensibility lurking in an eclectic array of media: Office of War Information photography, women's experimental films, and African-American novels, among others. It traces the dark edges of cultural detritus blowing across the postwar landscape, finding in pulp a political theory that helps explain America's fascination with lurid spectacles of crime.

We are accustomed to thinking of noir as a film form popularized in movies like The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and, more recently, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. But it is also, Paula Rabinowitz argues, an avenue of social and political expression. This book offers an unparalleled historical and theoretical overview of the noir shadows cast when the media's glare is focused on the unseen and the unseemly in our culture. Through far-ranging discussions of the Starr Report, movies such as Double Indemnity and The Big Heat, and figures as various as Barbara Stanwyck, Kenneth Fearing, and Richard Wright, Rabinowitz finds in film noir the representation of modern America's attempt to submerge and mask its violent history of racial and class anatagonisms. Black & White & Noir also explores the theory and practice of stilettos, the ways in which girls in the 1950s viewed film noir as a secret language about their mothers' pasts, the extraordinary tone-setting photographs of Esther Bubley, and the smutty aspect of social workers' case studies, among other unexpected twists and provocative turns.

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.

"Rabinowitz's analysis yields provocative insights." — Choice

"Black & White & Noir draws our attention to the connections between history, cinema and crime fiction and the range of viewpoints inhabiting their respective underworlds. It deserves wide readership." — William Field, Crime Time

"Black and White possesses a philosophical dimension, forcing its readers to reconsider their presuppositions about noir. Rabinowitz constantly pushes against the boundaries of the concept, inviting us to contemplate its significations and how they are valuable or important." — Dan Flory, American Quarterly

"...this povacative, wide-ranging study..." — Robert Miklitsch, Film Quarterly

"Noir, Paula Rabinowitz argues, is not merely a film genre but also a form of historical sensibility, constituted as it is in the blurry boundaries between 'trashy' pulp fiction and 'serious' political events. Coming to terms with noir is thus coming to terms with perhaps the predominant mode of knowledge production of our time. No one interested in the cultural politics of twentieth-century America can afford to ignore the vast implications of this erudite and visionary book." — Rey Chow, Brown University

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.

Introduction: On Pulp Modernism
Part 1. BLACK: Rooms and Rage
Already Framed: Esther Bubley Invents Noir
Domestic Labor: Film Noir, Proletarian Literature and Black Women's Fiction
Double Cross: Wri(gh)ting as The Outsider
Part 2. WHITE: Work and Memory
Blanc Noir: Rural Pulp and Documentary Modernism
Melodrama/Male Drama: The Sentimental Contract of American Labor Films
Not 'Just the Facts, Ma'am': Social Workers as Private Eyes
Part 3: NOIR: Household Objects
Barbara Stanwyck's Anklet
Medium Uncool: Avant-garde Film and Uncanny Feminism
Mapping Noir

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.

About the Author

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary.