s.s. van dine


S. S. Van Dine was the pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright (October 15, 1888 – April 11, 1939). He was very precocious: at twenty-one, Wright began his professional writing career as literary editor (curatore) at the Los Angeles Times, where he was known for his caustic reviews (recensioni satiriche) about romance and detective novels. His literary influences were H.L. Mencken, Oscar Wilde, Ambrose Bierce and Theodor Dreiser. In his book What Nietzsche Taught (1915) he tries to popularize the German philosopher and in Modern Painting: Its Tendency and Meaning, he analyses the important art movements of the last hundred years from Manet to Cubism, predicting (predicendo) the coming of an art of color abstraction which would replace realism. Together with his brother – Stanton Macdonald – Wright, an appreciated abstract painter, founder (fondatore) of the modern art school “Synchromism.” – he helped to organize several exhibitions (mostra), including the “Forum Exhibition of Modern American Painters,” which showed new artists to the public. He also published a work of aesthetic philosophy, The Creative Will (1916).Wright was a Germanophile, and was also accused of being (accusatodi essere) a spy for Germany (1917). He retired (si ritirò) for a period in California to cure his nervous breakdown and his drug addiction (assunzione di droghe). Back to New York in 1920, Wright spent a long period in bed and read books about crimes and detection. In 1926 he published an essay (saggio) about detective fiction and started writing detective stories himself: in the same year appeared the first of Philo Vance books, The Benson Murder Case, under the pseudonym “S.S. Van Dine” – an abbreviation of “steamship” and Van Dine, which he said was an old family name. The novel proved very successful (si provò di grande successo) and was followed by The Canary Murder Case and The Greene Murder Case which feature (caratterizzano) amateur detective Philo Vance, an art lover like the author. He wrote twelve mysteries in total. His real identity was only unmasked (smascherata) in 1928 when Wright wrote introduction and notes to the anthology The World’s Great Detective Stories and Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories, an article for The American Magazine. In the 1930s he produced stories used as the basis for a series of twelve short films for the Warner Brothers film studio and from 1929 to 1949 his novels were adapted into long length films. On April 11, 1939, Wright died in New York of a heart attack.

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