Robert Ludlum: A Critical Companion

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 227 pages
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There's more than meets the eye in the fiction of the master of the espionage thriller Robert Ludlum. In a study that examines seventeen of Ludlum's novels in depth, including the latest, The Apocalypse Watch (1995), Macdonald uncovers the serious themes running through the novels: the role of the individual in preserving democracy, the value of competing voices, the failure of educational institutions to preserve ideals, the temptations of power, the importance of personal loyalties in the face of impersonal organizations, and the nature of evil. She shows how Ludlum's novels are valuable in helping us to understand modern paranoia--our fear of conspiracies, terrorism, barbarism, and intolerance. A personal interview granted by Ludlum for this book illuminates the influences on his craft, especially his long experience in the theater, which affects his sense of pacing, characterization, humor, and suspense.

After an initial biographical chapter, Macdonald examines Ludlum's literary roots in suspense novels and discusses the genre. Each succeeding chapter examines a group of his novels tied together thematically or, in the case of the Bourne series, by recurring characters. The discussion of each novel is organized into sections on plot and structure, character, and theme, and features an alternate critical interpretation, such as Freudian, Marxist, or reader response criticism, which offers the reader another fresh perspective from which to examine the concerns of the novel. Novels covered in depth are: Trevayne, The Cry of the Halidon, The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Rhinemann Exchange, The Gemini Contenders, The Holcroft Covenant, The Road to Gandolfo, The Road to Omaha, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Matarese Circle, The Parsifal Mosaic, The Aquitaine Progression, The Icarus Agenda, The Scorpio Illusion, and The Apocalypse Watch. This critical companion includes an up-to-date bibliography of all of Ludlum's published works, as well as selected reviews of all works examined in this study.

 

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Contents

The Life of Robert Ludlum
5
Robert Ludlums Literary Roots
21
Monolithic Corporations Threaten Trevayne 1973 and The Cry of the Halidon 1974
39
The Early Nazi and NeoNazi Novels The Scarlatti Inheritance 1971 The Rhinemann Exchange 1974 The Gemini Contenders 1976 and The Holcroft ...
61
Comic Satire The Road to Gandolfo 1975 and The Road to Omaha 1992
97
The Bourne Series The Bourne Identity 1980 The Bourne Supremacy 1986 and The Bourne Ultimatum 1990
115
International ColdWar Conspiracies The Matarese Circle 1979 The Parsifal Mosaic 1982 and The Aquitaine Progression 1984
141
International Terrorism The Icarus Agenda 1988 and The Scorpio Illusion 1993
173
Ludlum As a Cultural Phenomenon The Apocalypse Watch 1995
195
Bibliography
209
Index
227
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About the author (1997)

GINA MACDONALD is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans. She is the author of James Clavell: A Critical Companion (Greenwood, 1996), and has published well over a hundred articles in periodicals and books on popular fiction, detective fiction, and popular culture. She is also coauthor of a text for bilingual students of writing and a freshman composition text.

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