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Cinematic FictionsThe Impact of the Cinema on the American Novel up to World War II$
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David Seed

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312120

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315190

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Nathanael West and the Hollywood Novel

Nathanael West and the Hollywood Novel

(p.258) 13 Nathanael West and the Hollywood Novel
Cinematic Fictions
Liverpool University Press

The Hollywood novel emerged in 1912, on the heels of the rising Hollywood film industry. The Hollywood novel was a broad category that included romance, satire, and crime fiction, and revolved around a central theme, the ‘confusion of illusion and reality’. This chapter examines those Hollywood novels that appropriate or imitate the very representational techniques of the film medium they are describing, and shows how characters are drawn into the complex process of commodification within the Hollywood system. These novels include Harry Leon Wilson's Merton of the Movies (1922), Carl Van Vechten's Spider Boy (1928), and Elmer Rice's A Voyage to Purilia (1930).

Keywords:   film industry, Nathanael West, Hollywood novel, Hollywood system, commodification, Harry Leon Wilson, Carl Van Vechten, Elmer Rice

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