A weblog dedicated to noir fiction and film, music, poetry and politics.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
I am a real sucker for WPA guide books. They give a glimpse of a time in the not so distant, one in which my parents came of age, when federal programs took people off the dole onto the government payroll. Moreover, some excellent writers helped put the guides together, writers like Algren, Ellison, Cheever, Rexroth, Steinbeck, Meridel Le Seur, Zora Neal Hurston, Weldon Keyes, Louis L'Amour, Richard Wright, Benjamin Appel, Jim Thompson, as well as an assortment of hoboes and eccentrics, including the great composer Harry Partch. If one looked into I bet any number of future crime/noir writers besides Thompson, Appel and Algren could be found amongst them. David Taylor's Soul of a People is an excellent history of that period and I now discover that he has a blog devoted to the WPA's writer's project, which I highly recommend.
London-based journalist and author of Pulp Culture: Hardboiled Fiction and the Cold War; Neon Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction; and Heartbreak and Vine: The Fate of Hardboiled Writers in Hollywood.