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|Genre/Form:||Criticism, interpretation, etc|
|Additional Physical Format:||Online version:
Ambrosetti, Ronald J.
New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, ©1994
|Named Person:||Eric Ambler; Eric Ambler; Eric Ambler; Eric Ambler|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
Ronald J Ambrosetti
|Description:||xvii, 166 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.|
|Contents:||Ch. 1. "The Weird Multiplier": From Detective to Spy --
Ch. 2. A Spy in the House of Ratiocination --
Ch. 3. Dark Crossings: Twilights of the Gods and the Psyche --
Ch. 4. The Eternal Return: Dionysus as Dimitrios --
Ch. 5. Picking Up the Pieces: From the Phony War to the Cold War --
Ch. 6. Facing East: The Orientation of Eric Ambler --
Ch. 7. Ambler Redux: Fruition and Finale.
|Series Title:||Twayne's English authors series, TEAS 507.|
|Responsibility:||Ronald J. Ambrosetti.|
Current criticism generally takes the view that Ambler's best work is in these early, path-breaking novels. Ambrosetti contests this position, finding evidence of Ambler's maturation as a writer in terms of character development, social and political verisimilitude, and cognizance of moral subtlety. Gone from the novels of the 1950s onward are the one-dimensional ideologues of the collectivist 1930s; in their place are ambivalent, alienated characters, morally confused and psychologically homeless.
In such novels as State of Siege (1956), Passage of Arms (1959), and The Light of Day (1962), Ambler considered the West's post-World War II view of the East - politically and psychologically - as the mysterious, untrustworthy "other." In the five books he devoted to this topic, Ambler took up the theme of the Western traveler on a journey of self-discovery and exploration; as one book followed the next into publication, Ambler's protagonists evolved from a stance of fearful and condescending fascination to one of at least partial understanding and involvement.
Ambler's interest in the evolving personality, the ability to adapt, is apparent throughout his work. His protagonists are often fairly average, sometimes troubled men whose accidental involvement in a sinister maze of international spying and intrigue transforms them. In such later novels as A Kind of Anger (1964) and The Intercom Conspiracy (1969), Ambler perfected what Ambrosetti calls the concept of "trickster as hero." The trickster embodies Ambler's belief that in the twentieth century survival - psychic and otherwise - depends on the capacity to change in response to a treacherously shifting environment without losing sight of the forces at work - both good and malevolent - within one's own consciousness. Not unlike one of his spy-protagonists, Ambrosetti argues, Ambler as author has deftly managed the trick of literary transformation throughout his long career.