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Highsmith, Patricia (1921-1995)  
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Patricia Highsmith is not an author who offers predictable, comforting role models to lesbian or gay readers but one who provides narrative absorption through psychological subtlety. Her novels interrogate what constitutes personhood and what motivations drive the self: two pertinent and enduring questions for modern lesbian and gay identity.

[Highsmith's novels have been adapted into several films in addition to Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), which featured Farley Granger and Robert Walker.

Strangers on a Train is also the basis of Claude Autant-Lara's Le Meurtrir (1963) and Claude Miller's Dites-Lui Que Je L'Aime (1977, released in the United States as This Sweet Sickness); and of two films in which the protagonists are female rather than male: Robert Sparr's Once You Kiss a Stranger (1969) and Tommy Lee Watson's made-for-television film Once You Meet a Stranger (1996).

Highsmith's novel The Glass Cell is the basis of Bernd Eichinger's Die Glaeserne Zelle (1978). Deep Water inspired Michel Deville's Eaux Profondes (1981). Edith's Diary is the basis of Hans W. Geissendoerfer's Ediths Tagebuch (1983). Wolfgang Storch's Die Zwei Gesichter Des Januar (1986) is based on Two Faces of January, and Claude Chabrol's Le Cri du Hibor (1987) is based on The Cry of the Owl.

René Clément's subtly Purple Noon (1960), starring Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, was the first adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Other adaptations of the Ripley novels include Wim Winders' The American Friend (1977), featuring Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley in an existential take on the character; Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), starring Matt Damon; Liliani Cavani's Ripley's Game (2002), featuring John Malkovich; and Roger Spottiswoode's Ripley Under Ground (2005), with Barry Pepper in the title role.]

Sally R. Munt

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literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Lesbian, 1900-1969

American lesbian literature prior to Stonewall exploited the "outlaw" status of the lesbian as it moved from encrypted strategies of expression to overt political celebrations of woman-for-woman passion.

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In the decades since Stonewall, gay male mystery fiction has burgeoned in United States, both in quantity and in quality, and has increasingly been issued by mainstream presses.

literature >> Overview:  Novel: Lesbian

From the great modernist writers of the 1920s and 1930s to the pulp writers of the 1950s to the lesbian writers of today, lesbian novelists have had a powerful impact on the lesbian community.

literature >> Overview:  Romance Novels

Appealing to glbtq people who enjoy romantic fantasy, the queer romance novel has recently come into its own.

literature >> Dessaix, Robert

Australian translator, editor, essayist, travel writer, and novelist Robert Dessaix did not publish his first book until he was fifty; two novels later he is recognized as an important voice in Australian gay literature.

arts >> Granger, Farley

Actor Farley Granger was best known for playing strikingly handsome yet emotionally vulnerable young men in classic 1940s films, but his long and productive career encompassed theater and television roles as well.


Klein, Kathleen Gregory. "Patricia Highsmith." And Then There Were Nine... More Women of Mystery. Jane S. Bakeman, ed. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985. 170-197.

Munt, Sally R. Murder by the Book: Feminism and the Crime Novel. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

Phillips, Deborah. "Mystery Woman -- Patricia Highsmith." Women's Review (London) No. 6 (April 1986): 14-15.

Symons, Julian. Bloody Murder. London: Viking, 1972.


    Citation Information
    Author: Munt, Sally R.  
    Entry Title: Highsmith, Patricia  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated December 4, 2009  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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