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Dirty Whites and Dark Secrets
Sex and Race in Peyton Place
Sally Hirsh-Dickinson

Revisiting New England

New Hampshire
2011 • 240 pp. 6 x 9"
Literary Criticism / New England

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-042-3
$38.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-215-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

The first full-length scholarly study of Peyton Place, Grace Metalious’s classic story of New England indiscretion

In a surprise rereading of the classic Peyton Place by Grace Metalious, Sally Hirsh-Dickinson contends that it scandalized the nation precisely because of the way in which sexuality in the novel is conflated with America’s problematic relationship to race. This charge is buttressed by the oft-forgotten detail that the fictional Peyton Place was founded by one Samuel Peyton, an escaped slave.

Hirsh-Dickinson argues that the town’s inability to come to terms with its black history informs its dysfunctional relationship to sex, power, and justice, mirroring America on the eve of the civil rights movement. She writes of New England in the larger American consciousness, touching on discussions of white studies and the racialized lower classes in American fiction. Dirty Whites and Dark Secrets is a thought-provoking study of a genre classic that will speak to both scholars and students about the deeper truths hidden in popular fiction.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“Scholarly attention to Peyton Place has been intermittent, and no one else, to date, has approached the book with such attention to detail, and such theoretical sophistication, as Hirsh-Dickinson. Dirty Whites and Dark Secrets provides a well-written, smart, provocative, and most welcome analysis.”—Jennifer Scanlon, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Gender and Women’s Studies, Bowdoin College

SALLY HIRSH-DICKINSON is an assistant professor of English at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the Saturday-morning voice of New Hampshire Public Radio.