Cornell Woolrich

in The United States
December 04, 1903

September 25, 1968


F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cornell Woolrich is widely regarded as the twentieth century’s finest writer of pure suspense fiction. The author of numerous classic novels and short stories (many of which were turned into classic films) such as Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Waltz Into Darkness, and I Married a Dead Man, Woolrich began his career in the 1920s writing mainstream novels that won him comparisons to F. Scott Fitzgerald. The bulk of his best-known work, however, was written in the field of crime fiction, often appearing serialized in pulp magazines or as paperback novels. Because he was prolific, he found it necessary to publish under multiple pseudonyms, including "William Irish" and "George Hopley" [...] Woolrich lived a l ...more

Average rating: 3.92 · 13,575 ratings · 1,541 reviews · 268 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Bride Wore Black

3.92 avg rating — 1,648 ratings — published 1940 — 12 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Rear Window

4.05 avg rating — 1,374 ratings — published 1942 — 26 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Rendezvous in Black

3.95 avg rating — 1,254 ratings — published 1948 — 26 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
I Married a Dead Man

3.89 avg rating — 904 ratings — published 1948 — 6 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Night Has a Thousand Eyes

3.76 avg rating — 841 ratings — published 1945 — 26 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Phantom Lady

3.93 avg rating — 611 ratings — published 1942 — 44 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating

3.73 avg rating — 493 ratings — published 1950 — 14 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Black Curtain

3.88 avg rating — 378 ratings — published 1941 — 12 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Waltz into Darkness

3.73 avg rating — 431 ratings — published 1947 — 29 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Black Angel

3.70 avg rating — 432 ratings — published 1943 — 28 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by Cornell Woolrich…
“I had that trapped feeling, like some sort of a poor insect that you've put inside a downturned glass, and it tries to climb up the sides, and it can't, and it can't, and it can't.”
Cornell Woolrich, Blues of a Lifetime: The Autobiography of Cornell Woolrich

“An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths.

As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be.

It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting.

One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower.

And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on.

So it goes.

And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment.

Rome passed into the past, and became New York.

Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love.

("For The Rest Of Her Life")”
Cornell Woolrich, Angels of Darkness

“It was as simple as that - they met. As simple as only beautiful things can be beautiful, as only life-changing things, turning-point things, can be simple.

("For The Rest Of Her Life")”
Cornell Woolrich, Angels of Darkness


February 2018 Short Story Poll

  58 votes, 17.4%

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, 1904, 96 pages
  53 votes, 15.9%

White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1848, 82 pages
  36 votes, 10.8%

Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson, 1890, 54 pages.
  30 votes, 9.0%

Rear Window by Cornell Woolrich, 1942, 47 pages
  27 votes, 8.1%

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, 1941, 104 pages
  26 votes, 7.8%

  26 votes, 7.8%

  24 votes, 7.2%

  19 votes, 5.7%

  15 votes, 4.5%

Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, 1936, 115 pages
  10 votes, 3.0%

The Eyes by Edith Wharton, 1910 48 pages
  9 votes, 2.7%


Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Challenge: 50 Books: Kristine I's 2010 Reading Challenge 83 196 Jan 03, 2011 07:09PM  
The Mystery, Crim...: Ellroy fan on the hunt for new authors 14 43 Sep 27, 2011 08:48AM  
The Mystery, Crim...: Hard-Boiled / Noir Recommendations 63 367 Apr 01, 2013 11:55PM  
2020 Reading Chal...: January: Let it Snow! Mini Challenge 281 393 Feb 03, 2014 10:43AM  
2020 Reading Chal...: LynnE's 2014 Challenges 26 103 Aug 27, 2014 09:00AM