- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
American author, primarily of psychological thrillers.
Her first novel, "Strangers on a Train, published in 1950, was made into a major motion picture by Alfred Hitchcock. Under the pseudonym of Clare Morgan, she published her next novel in 1953, "The Price of Salt" (also known as "Carol") which explored homosexual themes and which was turned down by her first publisher. This book formed the basis of Phyllis Nagy's screenplay made into the 2015 British-American romantic drama film "Carol," directed by Todd Haynes, and starring Cate Blanchett.
In 1955, she wrote her first of several novels about Tom Ripley, "The Talented Mr. Ripley," which was also made into a motion picture starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. In addition to over 20 novels, she wrote short stories and one book on the craft of writing, "Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction" in 1966. In the book, she theorized: "art has nothing to do with morality, convention or moralizing."
Although she was born in America, she spent much of her adult life in Switzerland and France. She studied Greek and Latin and English at Barnard College and graduated in 1942. Her popularity in the US came late in her life; she won the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Le Grand Prix de Literature Policiere and the Award of the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. Both "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "The Two Faces of January" won two awards in 1957 and 1964 respectively. The archives of her work are maintained in Berne.
Highsmith had sexual relationships mostly with women. She never married or had children. In 1943, she had an affair with artist Allela Cornell, who committed suicide in 1946 by drinking nitric acid and, in 1949, with novelist Marc Brandel. From November 1948 until May 1949 Highsmith underwent psychoanalysis in an effort to "get myself in a condition to be married," as she wrote in her diary, with her then boyfriend Marc Brandel.
n early September 1951, she began an affair with sociologist Ellen Blumenthal Hill, traveling back and forth to Europe to meet with her. When Highsmith and Hill came to New York in early May 1953, their affair ostensibly "in a fragile state," Highsmith began an "impossible" affair with the German homosexual photographer Rolf Tietgens.
Between 1959 and 1961, she fell in love with Marijane Meaker, who wrote under the pseudonyms "Vin Packer" and "Ann Aldrich" and later wrote young adult fiction as "M.E. Kerr".
Highsmith died of aplastic anemia and cancer in Locarno Switzerland on 4 February 1995.