Eric Ambler's first six novels released between 1936 and 1940 quickly established his reputation as a master craftsman of intrigue and espionage narratives. Far less often discussed are the twelve Cold War novels he published, after an eleven-year hiatus as a screenwriter, between 1951 and 1981. This study argues that his entire corpus manifests late modernism's impulse toward a broadly social, political, and cultural critique of the times. Ambler's fiction from the mid-1950s onward is also remarkable for its ludic turn as he assesses the self-deceptions of an increasingly bureaucratized and media-focused world blind to its own follies. In these later works can be seen elements of what has come to be known as postmodernism, though in his commitment to chronicling the juggernaut of modernity he remains a uniquely independent witness of what is now being called the long twentieth century.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 237 x 161 x 18 mm
In his incisive close readings, set within informed theoretical and historical contexts, Robert Lance Snyder establishes Eric Ambler as a major twentieth century writer who erases extant boundaries between literary and genre fiction. Snyder shows definitively that over the course of his 45 year writing career, Ambler's concerns with Fascism, national identity and belonging, capitalist greed, and the nature of literary character and structure plot analytical narrative experiments that in addition to their importance to modernist, intermodern, and postmodern studies, should inform our thinking about culture and politics today.--Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University
Two critical categories have sparked the most fascinating work in the new modernist studies: late modernism and popular culture. Bringing both into conversation, however, has been elusive. Synder's Eric Ambler's Novels: Critiquing Modernity joins select company reading genre fiction amidst late modernism and harmonizing their distinct approaches to critical cultural theory. Snyder makes Ambler's critique of modernity a real thriller.--James Gifford, Professor of English, Fairleigh Dickinson University