James Ellroy has mined the darkest corners of the American experience, public and private, to paint a landscape of corrupt hearts, minds, and institutions. Ellroy is particularly notable for exploring the connection between the murder of his own mother, when he was ten years old, and his troubled adolescence and early adulthood struggles with addiction. “Dead people belong to the live people who claim them most obsessively,” he wrote in the memoir My Dark Places. Dark Places: Crime and Politics in the Personal Noir of James Ellroy will explore connections between politics, art, history, memory, and crime -- Ellroy’s personal noir. The editors here present an interdisciplinary collection of essays, each with insight and argument into the pressurized, and at times, highly personal literary production of one of the most critically and commercially successful authors of our time. These contributions, scholarly yet accessible, offer compelling and provocative maps into the terrain of Ellroy’s fiction and non-fiction, drawing focus as well on film adaptations of his work.
Joseph Romance is independent scholar who taught political science and political theory for over 20 years at Drew University and Fort Hays State University.
Darrell A. Hamlin is associate professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Center for Civic Leadership at Fort Hays State University.
Chapter 1: James Ellroy’s California: Susan McWilliams
Chapter 2: Through the Eyes of Les Femmes: James Ellroy’s Gender Politics of “Killing Women to Save Them”: Deirdre Condit
Chapter 3: Black Dahlia and Aesthetic Crimes: Erik Anderson
Chapter 4: Dark Mirror: The Resisting Reader and the Crime Writing of James Ellroy: Lexey Barlett
Chapter 5: There Is No Honor In LA: Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential, the Violent Detective, and Systems of Harm: Caitlin B. Coulter
Chapter 6: Policing, Corruption, and Criminality:The Politics of the Legitimate use of Force and the Rule of Law in James Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet: Jeffrey Becker
Chapter 7: The Guy who Gets Away with It: Law, Justice, and Violence in the Film LA Confidential: Paul Babbitt
Chapter 8: Ellroy’s Wetworkers: Soldiers and Spooks, Paramilitaries and Assassins, Cops, G-Men, Wise Guys, Latinos, and Gringos in the Underworld USA Trilogy: W. John Green
Chapter 9: Knowledge is Danger: The Kennedy Assassination in Ellroy and Don DeLillo: Joseph Romance
“Dark Places: Crime and Politics in the Personal Noir of James Ellroy is an excellent and timely addition to the growing body of critical work on James Ellroy. It combines an academic and hardboiled style, which provides new insights on every page from a varied range of contributors.”