Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die

by Francis M. Nevins, Jr.


1988, Mysterious Press, New York. Light blue boards, black spine with gold lettering. Dust jacket. 613 pages. Thin section of B&W illustrations include book covers and movie posters.

This appears to be a very extensive biography of one of the truly great authors of the period. Woolrich, who of course also wrote under the famous pen name William Irish, was one of the most prominent in a group of authors whose works seemed to suffer ebbing fame in the later years of life, only to enjoy a tremendous resurgence of interest after death. He led a sad, lonely existence, and he captured perfectly the dark side of life in the pages of his novels and short stories. You can't talk about "Noir" without mentioning Woolrich. Nevins seems to describe this feeling well, not just in the pages discussing Woolrich's life, but in the discussion of his literary works, as well.