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A Journal of Books and Ideas Essay: Carol, which has gotten rave reviews and is generating Oscar talk, is based on The Price of Salt, a novel by Patricia Highsmith.
Carlston Right now I'm looking at three novels on my desk: Or Carol, also by Patricia Highsmith. These are all, of course, the same book, or Carol price dissertation of the same book, and if I wanted to spend the money I could add a bookshelf's worth of other versions of this malleable text.
In the multiple permutations of this novel we can trace the historical arc of American attitudes towards, and marketing of, lesbianism from the s until today. Its fortunes have been, in a sense, the fortunes of queer Americans themselves.
The Price of Salt is the story of the love between Therese, a budding set designer who works in the toy department of a department store, and Carol, an elegant customer who comes into the store one day. When the book was first published, inPatricia Highsmith--a thirty-year-old writer who'd just had a major success with her novel Strangers on a Train--couldn't take the risk of issuing a lesbian romance under her own name; in fact, the Carol price dissertation Highsmith wouldn't admit publicly that she was the novel's author until she was in her 60s.
After her real name made Carol price dissertation onto the cover, the title was changed to Carol for the U. With its well-known author hiding behind a pseudonym and neither title giving much away, publishers have relied on the covers to sell the book.
The cover of the original hardcover edition explains to the prospective reader that she holds in her hands "A Modern Novel of Two Women," discreetly promising something sophisticated and psychological. It's aimed at a reader who likes to think of herself as up-to-date, broad-minded.
The Bantam paperback edition has a garishly colored pulp cover and bears the tantalizing heading, "The Novel of a Love Society Forbids. Over the next sixty years editions multiplied, attributed variously to Morgan or Highsmith, titled either The Price of Salt or Carol, with all kinds of covers and blurbs.
Many of these later editions aim to appeal to an arty, highbrow crowd, as is suggested by my Norton edition's bold claim that the novel "inspired Lolita"--which as far as I know is only a hypothesis that Terry Castle advanced speculatively in a New Republic article on Highsmith, not a fact.
My own notes for this article were taken from the Naiad Press edition. While many of the readers of Highsmith's work in the s must have been lesbians and gay men, nobody was marketing books specifically to them until queers and feminists launched presses and bookstores that became lively sites of political and cultural activism.
My cherished Naiad Price of Salt is a reminder of that valiant and vital effort to recover gay and lesbian histories, to bring a culture to light, and in doing so to fuel a movement that ended up changing the social and political landscape of the United States forever.
The latest entrant in this array of editions indicates just how dramatic that change has been. It's the book labeled Carol Movie Tie-Inreleased as part of the marketing campaign for the "major motion picture" announced on the new cover, which also features the exquisite faces of the film's co-stars, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
A book that began with an author who couldn't acknowledge it as her own work, marketed in turn to the intelligentsia, thrill-seekers, and members of a minority sub-culture struggling for recognition, is now the basis of a "major motion picture," starring two of the most celebrated actresses in the world and generating all kinds of awards-season buzz.
The film is likely to garner multiple Oscar nominations, and it will probably make a lot of money, as will the novel. And millions of people around the world--in the parts of the world that allow such films to be shown--will watch a well-told, well-acted story of two women in love and be moved by it.
This is unquestionably progress, of a kind, and I have no quarrel with it, although I'm saddened that the queer and feminist presses and bookstores that helped keep The Price of Salt and novels like it in print have almost all closed.
But it's hardly an original observation that along the road to mainstream cultural acceptance, marriage equality, and general respectability, queers lost many of the community institutions and much of the oppositional energy that sustained us through so much devastation, for so long: But either way, there's no doubt that life has gotten easier for many of us since In charting the changes between then and now, though, there are two mistakes we could make, and I'm already anticipating that responses to the movie Carol will make them.
The first is to imagine that things now are much better than they are. The second is to imagine that the s were even worse than they were. The first error is a fairly obvious one. Sure, today Highsmith's beleaguered lovers Carol and Therese could make their road trip as a legally married couple or could if Carol's divorce from her husband, Harge, were finalized.
But their reception in many small towns across the American West would probably be even chillier now, when the nature of their relationship would be recognized, than it would have been in the s when two women could share a hotel bed without being thought more than chums.
People still lose custody of their children because of their sexual orientation, if not quite so automatically as they would have in People still get fired or kicked out of their homes because they are, or are thought to be, gay.
Queers still get killed--especially when they aren't protected, as Carol and Therese are, by white skin, gender conformity, and class privilege. All this, we know. What's harder to see, given just how repressive and conservative the s were in the U. The Price of Salt, for all its "explosive" content, found a major publisher fairly quickly and sold more than a million copies in the first couple of years it was out.
This shouldn't really be surprising. After all, the s gave us some of our most iconic images of rebellion against conformity--Brando and Dean, early rock 'n' roll, the Beats going On The Road.
And in the s there were also networks, whole communities, of people whose lives ran against the grain. Highsmith knew this, and wove it all into her novel.Carol Price Phd Dissertation Nature Center. carol price phd dissertation nature center need help homework english Carol Price Dissertation Nature Center phd thesis on quality management buy college application essay writingbuy speech outline Carol Price Phd Dissertation Nature Center computer engineering resume cover letter of dissertation proposahow to write custom validators in jsf Carol.
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