An Unauthorized Update of Patricia Highsmith’s

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Earl Jackson, Jr.


I wanted to provide a synoptic view of certain dynamics within Highsmith’s novel between identification and desire. These dynamics are much more visible if the novel is represented only by certain highlights, which I provide here, and if some of the names are changed to avoid confusions, for example, the name „Dickie“ allows for unnecessarily phallic and/or infantile (if these two can, indeed ever be sufficiently distinguished) misreadings. I have replaced, therefore, the name „Dickie“ with the name „Tom.“ Although this means that both male protagonists (if that’s indeed what they are [protagonists that is, – of course they’re male]) will be named „Tom,“ I think in each passage, context makes it clear which „Tom“ is the referent. I have also replaced the name „Marge“ since that’s such a 1960’s sitcom innocuous neighbor name. I’m not very good at thinking up names except for cats, and so, I have fallen back upon the name „Earl“ for Marge. (Using this name marks the introjection of the quantum indeterminacy of the observer’s effect on the observed, demonstrates the relations between the quantum question and narcissism [identification and desire in subject-production], and makes a nice pun with URL, which, since this text is webbed, will be more effective than it might seem [or at least there is no reason not to believe this provisionally.]) In deference to the French film adaptation of the novel, Plein Soleil, I also change the New York origin/residence of Tom to San Francisco, however not as inexplicably. The text will be updated through external links to active web pages.

Click here for chapter one.