Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Staying Up Much Too Late

Staying Up Much Too Late

Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and the Dark Side of the American Psyche

Gordon Theisen

Thomas Dunne Books




A fascinating study of Edward Hopper's iconic Nighthawks painting and its deep significance for understanding American culture.

Staying up Much Too Late discusses the painting Nighthawks and the painter Edward Hopper and their central importance to twentieth-century American culture. Topics include individualism, New York City, Arthur "Weegee" Fellig, diners, pornography, capitalism, advertising, cigarettes, American philosophy, World War II, Gravity's Rainbow, Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, Russ Meyer, R. Crumb, David Lynch, and film noir

What links these together is the painting's pessimistic take on American culture, which it also seems to epitomize. Despite its desolate feel, Nighthawks has become a familiar icon, reproduced on posters and postcards, in movies and on television shows. But Nighthawks is more than just a masterful painting. It is a portal into that rarely acknowledged but pervasive dark side of the American psyche.


Staying Up Much Too Late

Chapter One
The Making of the Painting, or How to Be a Stranger in Your Own Land
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
1. The...


Praise for Staying Up Much Too Late

“A personal meditation on Hopper's most famous painting, Staying Up Much Too Late should introduce Gordon Theisen as exactly what he is: one of the true originals in American letters. In Staying Up Much Too Late Gordon Theisen dismantles the American Dream like a savvy child patiently unscrewing an Erector set Shangri-la. He begins by skewering American optimism, ends with a hymn of praise to un-American pessimism, and in between demonstrates convincingly that Edward Hopper's great painting Nighthawks is imbued with the underhistory of America. We live in the loneliest country on Earth, Theisen tells us, and his darkly vivid language, like Hopper's brushwork, renders it with deadpan accuracy. What a lovely book.” —John Vernon, author of A Book of Reasons

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Gordon Theisen

GORDON THEISEN was born in Queens, New York. He has worked as a landscaper, dishwasher, barback, cashier, library clerk, construction worker, telemarketer, taxi driver, teacher, proofreader, and freelance writer. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, with his wife, two-year-old son, and his wife's cat.

Gordon Theisen

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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