Crimes, Newspapers, Narratives
V. Penelope Pelizzon and Nancy M. WestTheory and Interpretation of Narrative
Literary Criticism/American & Performing Arts/Film & Video/History & Criticism
221 pp. 6x9
$51.95 cloth 978-0-8142-1117-5
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“The result of extensive archival research, Tabloid, Inc. is a lively and well-written book that tells an interesting story from beginning to end. V. Penelope Pelizzon and Nancy M. West’s enthusiasm for their material shines throughout the work, and they make a convincing case for both the inherent interest of the neglected tabloids and their centrality to Hollywood productions in the 1930s.” —Jared Gardner, associate professor of English, The Ohio State University
Tabloid, Inc. provides the first extended study of the rich exchange between New York’s tabloid press and other narrative frames, including Hollywood crime film, museum exhibits, and hard-boiled fiction. Armed with hard-to-find early issues of the New York Daily News, the New York Daily Mirror, and the Evening Graphic, V. Penelope Pelizzon and Nancy M. West trace crime stories from the late 1920s through the 1940s across often-contentious borders between different narrative sites.
Rather than dismissing the early tabloids as fodder for “gutter vamps and backyard sheiks,” as one critic called them, the authors treat these papers as distinctive literary venues typified by extreme flexibility in storytelling. The papers’ historically denigrated social status prompts the authors to study what they call “narrative mobility”—the process by which a story, in transiting from one medium, genre, or mode to another, reveals the underlying class boundaries that circumscribe that movement.
Combining narrative theory with cultural, literary, and film studies, Tabloid, Inc. marshals a wealth of little-seen archival material that includes not only the pages of the tabloids themselves but also Hollywood press books, studio correspondence, and fabulous though now-forgotten movies.
V. Penelope Pelizzon is associate professor and director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Nancy M. West is associate professor of English at the University of Missouri.