DiscoverThe Dead Ladies ShowPodcast #71: Patricia Highsmith
Podcast #71: Patricia Highsmith

Podcast #71: Patricia Highsmith

Update: 2024-05-16


In this episode, we take a jaunt to New York to find out about the talented and difficult Patricia Highsmith. You might know one of her most notorious characters, Tom Ripley, from your Netflix queue (the new series Ripley) or via one of the many films based on what might be Highsmith’s best-known novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Highsmith wrote several books that redefined the concept of the thriller, as well as one of the few stories to give a lesbian couple a happy ending. 

That novel, The Price of Salt, was adapted into the 2015 film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.  It was inspired by one of Highsmith’s many obsessive relationships (or in this case, just an obsession) with women. Long a closeted lesbian, Highsmith was engaged to a man (as required by 1950s societal mores) yet aggressively seduced lady after lady. 

She also wrote obsessively, was highly ambitious, and kept thousands of pages of diaries written in various languages to avoid spilling her secrets (they have been translated since her death in 1995). She was misanthropic and bigoted, and even her friends considered her unpleasant to be around, but her psychological thrillers have remained classics, partly for how they provide insight into the mind of the criminal. 

The talk by writer and educator Hannah Meyer comes courtesy of our friends at Dead Ladies Show NYC. DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens was there for the event in NYC, and he joins producer/host Susan Stone to help introduce the episode.

Find Dead Ladies NYC on Instagram: @deadladiesnyc and follow Hannah Meyer @hannahrenee_m

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Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Susan, here.

Show notes:

The “lover’s chart”

<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><figcaption class="wp-element-caption">A chart from Patricia Highsmith’s 1945 diaries in which she compared her lovers. The initials of the women have been removed to protect their privacy.</figcaption></figure>

The first novel

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Adapted for the screen…

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It’s Carol! Adapted from the novel The Price of Salt

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Podcast #71: Patricia Highsmith

Podcast #71: Patricia Highsmith