Staying Up Much Too Late by Gordon Theisen
Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and the Dark Side of the American Psyche

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Synopsis

A fascinating study of Edward Hopper's iconic Nighthawks painting and its deep significance for understanding American culture. Staying up Much Too Late discusses the painting Nighthawks and the painter Edward Hopper and their central importance to twentieth-century American culture. Topics include individualism, New York City, Arthur "Weegee" Fellig, diners, pornography, capitalism, advertising, cigarettes, American philosophy, World War II, Gravity's Rainbow, Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, Russ Meyer, R. Crumb, David Lynch, and film noir What links these together is the painting's pessimistic take on American culture, which it also seems to epitomize. Despite its desolate feel, Nighthawks has become a familiar icon, reproduced on posters and postcards, in movies and on television shows. But Nighthawks is more than just a masterful painting. It is a portal into that rarely acknowledged but pervasive dark side of the American psyche.
 

About Gordon Theisen

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GORDON THEISEN was born in Queens, New York. He has worked as a landscaper, dishwasher, barback, cashier, library clerk, construction worker, telemarketer, taxi driver, teacher, proofreader, and freelance writer. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, with his wife, two-year-old son, and his wife's cat.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books. 275 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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To wit: “Travis buys a bunch of guns on the black market and tries to save a twelve-year-old prostitute named Iris whom he’s befriended by going on a rampage, murdering her pimp and two other men.” Here and there, the author does offer an intriguing tidbit: There were 312 bicycle manufacturers in...

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Hopper's Nighthawks is one of the most iconic images in 20th-century art, but Theisen's analysis of the "desolate, alien, denatured, perverse, [and] desperate" masterpiece is too facile to support all the cultural weight he wants to place upon it.

May 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Staying Up Much Too Late: Edw...

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