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Patricia Highsmith
(January 19, 1921 - February 4, 1995) U.S.A.

Patricia Highsmith

Novelist

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Crime novelist, née Mary Patricia Plangman in Fort Worth, Texas, part German and part British, she lived her life in Europe, mainly in Switzerland, and in the USA. After a childhood marred by a mentally abusive mother, Highsmith endured deep depression throughout her life and struggled with chronic alcoholism that intensified as she got older.

In her late twenties, she underwent months of psychoanalysis in an effort to "regularize herself sexually"; after ending the treatment, she accepted herself as a lesbian. Patricia had few close personal relationships, and she had a reputation for being misanthropic and cruel. Among other things, she expressed racist and anti-Semitic views.

Her first book Strangers on a Train (1950) was filmed by Hitchcock. She excelled in tension and psychological exploration of character.

In 1952 Patricia published The Price of Salt, her only explicitly lesbian novel, that appeared under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. It was revolutionary in that it presented a lesbian love affair with a happy ending.

Not until its reissue under the title Carol in 1991 did Patricia Highsmith reveal herself to be the writer of this work. Notable is her series dealing with the amoral Tom Ripley, including The Talented Mr. Ripley (1956), Ripley Under Ground (1971), and Ripley's Game (1974).

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Sources: excerpts from: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002 - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - et alii

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