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Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me and the Crooked Game of Post-World War II America

Though presenting itself as pulpy example of hardboiled American fiction, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me opens up in important and unexpected ways when read as a subversive Gothic novel. Such a reading sheds light on a range of marginalized characters (especially women and rural peoples) who often remain shadowed by more conventional readings. Reading the novel as Gothic also highlights thematic concerns which counter the halcyon image of post-World War II America as a golden age and reveal instead a contemporary landscape fraught with violence, alienation, and mental instability.

Gothic Studies
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Scholarly personae: what they are and why they matter

kaleidoscopic overview of a steadily growing number of ‘approaches’ to the American past. By emphasizing difference or even ‘fragmentation’ – a trope in the history of post-World War II American historiography – such typologies of approaches often have a dispersive effect of a kind illustrated in the following passage on New Left historians in the 1960s:27 A strict taxonomy might demarcate differences between the self-consciously Marxist work of an early wave, whose members included current or former Communists, Trotskyists, and Schachtmanites, and that of a younger cohort

in How to be a historian

analysis, the reader has fallen into the trap its author has set. Notes  1 David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character (1950), New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960, 22. For an excellent analysis of the class dynamics at work within the culture of conformity Riesman describes, see Andrew Hoborek, The Twilight of the Middle Class: Post-World War II American Fiction and White-Collar Work, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Joel Foreman’s edited Refuge and refuse in Slow Learner 45 volume The Other Fifties: Interrogating

in Thomas Pynchon