Ludlum, Robert: The Bourne Identity
(researched by Adam Ginsberg)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Robert Ludlum. The Bourne Identity. New York: Richard Marek Publishing, 1980 Copyright 1980. Robert Ludlum. Parallel First Editions: In London: The Bourne Identity. London: Granada, 1980. pp. 541.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition is published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
266 leaves, pp. [2] [1-7] 8-9 [4] 14-25 [26] 27-35 [36] 37-48 [49] 50-62 [63] 64-81 [82] 83-95 [96] 97-109 [110] 111-121 [122] 123-136 [3] 140-155 [156] 157-170 [171] 172-186 [187] 188- 207 [208] 209-225 [226] 227-235 [236] 237-248 [249] 250-265 [266] 267-278 [279] 280-294 [295] 296-305 [306] 307-317 [318] 319-323 [4] 328-336 [337] 338-348 [349] 350-363 [364] 365-372 [373] 374-384 [385] 386-397 [398] 399-407 [408] 409-423 [424] 425-434 [435] 436-453 [454] 455-470 [471] 472-489 [490] 491-518 [519] 520-523 [7]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This story is prefaced with an article from the front page of The New York Times, from Friday, July 11, 1975, and then an article from the Associated Press' syndicated dispatch on Monday, July 7, 1975. These two articles provide background information for the story and create a feeling of tension. This book is also written for Glynis, "A very special light we all adore. With our love and deep respect."
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
This book contains no illustrations
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Measurement of Page: 22.6 cm x 15.3 cm Measurement of Text on the page: 18.3 cm x 10.5 cm Top margin: 2.3 cm Bottom margin: 2 cm Left margin: 2.3 cm Right margin: 2.5 cm Type size: 92R The writing on the first pages of each chapter begin 11.2 cm down from the top of the page, and the chapter number appears in Arabic numerals about 5 cm down the page. The type is easily readable.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book consists of the same paper stock throughout. The pages are slightly yellowed due to its age, and the corners are slightly frayed. The pages are thick, well-used, especially the top right corners, but there are no tears in the pages.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is cloth, with an embossed calico grain type. It is purplish, with a brilliant yellow stamping. There are no illustrations on the binding nor on the end papers. The spine has a 3.2 cm x 2 cm white sticker with its Radford Library Call Number: PS 3562. U26 B6 1980 Transcription of information on the spine: ROBERT | LUDLUM | THE | BOURNE | IDENTITY There is no writing on the front or back cover to be transcribed
12 Transcription of title page
Transcription of the recto of the title page: The | Bourne Identity | by | Robert Ludlum | Richard Marek Publishers | New York Transcription of the verso of the title page: Copyright 1980 by Robert Ludlum | All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or | by any means without the prior written permission of the Publisher, excepting | brief quotes used in connection with reviews written specifically for inclusion | in a magazine or newspaper. For information write to Richard Marek Publishers, | Inc., 200 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016 | Acknowledgement and thanks are made for permission to reprint articles from: | The Associated Press, copyright 1975 by The Associated Press. The New York Times, copyright | 1975 by The New York Times Company. | Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data | Ludlum, Robert, date. | The Bourne identity. | I. Title. | PZ4.L9455Bo [PS3562.U26] 813'.5'4 79-23638 | ISBN 0-399-90070-5 | Printed in the United States of America
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Unable to locate Manuscript holdings, but Robert Ludlum is a living author as of April 2000.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
This book was obtained from the Radford University Interlibrary Loan.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
R. Marek Publishers issued a Book Club edition in 1980. The format is 508 p. and 22cm. compared to the first edition that is 523 p. and 24 cm. Granada Publishers also issued a British first edition in 1980 that is 541 p. and 23 cm. Granada issued another edition in 1981 that is 514 p. and 18 cm.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
After a 25,000-copy fourth printing, the print total was 225,000. After a 25,000-copy fifth printing, the print total was 250,000. After a 25,000-copy sixth printing, the print total was 275,000. After a 25,000-copy seventh printing, the print total was 300,000. Source: Publisher's Weekly March 7, 1980, March 28, 1980, and April 11, 1980.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Bantam, 1980 Bantam, 1981 (Published by arrangement with the Robertmary Company.) Bantam, 1981 Bantam, 1981 (Bantam ed.) Bantam, 1984 Bantam, 1988 Grafton, 1989 (As part of the Ludlum triad) Random House, 1989 (As part of the Ludlum triad, which includes The Holcroft Covenant, The Matarese Circle, and The Bourne identity) Grafton, 1993 Harper Collins, 1993 Wings Books, 1994 Chivers Press, 1998 (Large print ed.) Paragon, 1999 (Large print ed.)
6 Last date in print?
According to Books in Print 1998-1999, the 544p. 1984 Bantam version and the 1987 digital audio version from Bantam were still in print in 1998-1999. Other books by Robert Ludlum that were still in print in 1998-1999, according to Books in Print 1998-1999: The Apocalypse Watch The Aquitaine Progression The Bourne Supremacy The Bourne Ultimatum The Chancellor Manuscript The Cry of the Halidon The Gemini Contenders The Holcroft Covenant The Icarus Agenda The Matarese Circle The Matarese Countdown The Matlock Paper The Osterman Weekend The Parsifal Mosaic The Rhinemann Exchange The Road to Gandolfo The Road to Omaha The Scarlatti Inheritance The Scorpio Illusion Trevayne
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
According to the Bowkers Annual (26th ed. 1981), The Bourne Identity held the second best selling fiction spot for 1980 with sales of 325,000 copies.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
After consulting various issues of Publisher's Weekly and the Bowker's Annual, I was unable to find sales figures.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
A book review appeared on page 7 of the March 30, 1980 edition of The New York Times Book Review, entitled "Momentum is Everything" A reduced copy of the cover appears centered in advertisements for The Literary Guild on page 32 of the April 6, 1980 edition, on page 46 of the April 13, 1980 edition, and on page 23 of the April 20, 1980 edition of The New York Times Book Review.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
After consulting the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature 1920+ (web version), LEXIS/NEXIS, Los Angeles Times archives (Web version), The New York Times Book Review, and Publisher's Weekly, I was unable to find information regarding other promotion.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Recordings: 1981. The Bourne Identity. 4 sound cassettes (1408 min.): 15/16 ips, mono. ; 3 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape. Merek Publishers, National Library Service [distributor] 1983. The Bourne Identity. 14 sound cassettes : analog. Title from insert inside container. Read by Michael Prichard. Books on Tape. 1983. The Bourne Identity. 13 sound cassettes (1 1/2 hr. each) : analog. Unabridged. Read by Michael Prichard. Books on Tape. 1987. The Bourne Identity. 2 sound cassettes (130 min.) : stereo, Dolby processed. Read by Darren McGavin. Bantam Audio Publishing. Audiovisual: 1991. The Bourne Identity. 2 videocassettes (VHS) (188 min.) : sd. (stereo.), col. ; 1/2 in. Warner Home Video. 1993. The Bourne Identity. 2 videocassettes (VHS) (188 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. Warner Home Video. 1993. The Bourne Identity. 1 videocassette (VHS)(188 min.) : sd., col., stereo. ; 1/2 in. Warner Home Video.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Translations include: Taina lichnosti Borna : roman. (No translator given) TSentrpoligraf, 1987. Russian. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Plaza & JanÈs, 1997. Spanish. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Editorial Atl·ntida, 1980. Spanish. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Plaza & JanÈs, 1994. Spanish. Taina lichnosti Borna : roman. (No translator given) TSentrpoligraf, 1996. Russian. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Plaza & JanÈs, 1992. Spanish. Iroborin olgul. (translated by So Kye-in) Koryowon, 1992. Korean. Identifikatsiia Borna-I ; Identifikatsiia Borna II. (No translator given) "Fita Ltd." : "Nika- tsentr Ltd.", 1994. Russian. Ansatsusha. (No translator given) Shinchosha, 1983. Japanese. Identifikatsiia Borna. (No translator given) "Golos", 1992. Russian. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) J. Vergara, 1986. Spanish. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Plaza & JanÈs, 1990. Spanish. Sha ch'u lo wang ti ch'ing l¸. (No translator given) Chung-kuo wen lien, 1988. Chinese. El caso Bourne. (No translator given) Plaza & JanÈs, 1989. Spanish. Doppio inganno. (No translator given) Rizzoli, 1986. Italian. La mÈmoire dans la peau : roman. (No translator given) Librairie GÈnÈrale FranÁaise, 1985. French. La mÈmoire dans la peau : roman. (No translator given) R. Laffont, 1981. French. Het Bourne bedrog : roman van een sinistere misleading. (F.J. Bruning) Veen, 1980. Dutch. Der Borowski-betrug : roman. (Heinz Nagel) Hestia, 1981. German.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
There are no prequels to The Bourne Identity Sequels Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Supremacy. New York: Random House, 1986. Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Ultimatum. New York: Random House, 1990.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Please see Sarah Farmer's entry on The Aquitaine Progression for a biographical overview of Robert Ludlum. While I could not locate any distinct details surrounding the production of The Bourne Identity, some of the events of Robert Ludlum's past influenced his novels, including The Bourne Identity. Robert Ludlum served as an infantryman for the United States Marine Corps from 1945-1947. While this stint was uneventful for him, he worked as a librarian and learned judo. His spare time for reading at the library allowed him to deepen his understand- ing of the historical facts which he refers to in his novels. He gives credibility to his protagonists by providing military details acquired while serving as an infantryman (Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook:1982, p.305). Ludlum's theater experience also influences his writing. He worked as an actor for six years, then became producer of the North Jersey Playhouse. Later, he performed voice-overs in commercials before finally beginning his writing career. His theater experience helped him learn how to use devices such as conflict and character (Current Biography 1982, 250). These devices play an important role in his novels because the suspense genre revolves around conflict. While I could not locate information regarding how he specifically wrote this novel, Ludlum generally follows the same routine for writing. Based on the research I have performed, I have no other indication that he wrote The Bourne Identity adhering to a different routine than the general routine that follows. According to Current Biography 1982, Ludlum is a dedicated writer, waking up before dawn every morning and then writing for six hours. Ludlum spends afternoons editing his writing and performing research for his novels. Once he completes his first draft, he collaborates with longtime editor Richard Marek. Ludlum says they prepare it for publication as if they were "bringing it to the stage," (Current Biography 1982, 250) as quoted in (New York Times Book Review [April 16, 1978]). The Bourne Identity is Ludlum's twelfth novel, including two that he wrote under the pen name Jonathan Ryder. Some critics believe that his novels should be called "The Ludlum Formula" because they all follow a similar pattern of convoluted plot lines, excessive violence, and chaste sex scenes (The New York Times March 20, 1980, p. C23). As of 1982, Ludlum began each book with a thematic concept. He generally writes "about something that outrages [him] as a man," (Current Biography 1982, 249) as quoted in (New York Times Book Review [July 10, 1977]). However, Ludlum writes only for the sake of entertainment, not taking his subject matter too seriously. He says, "My characters like guns, but I don't. I'm strictly drawing room comedy," (Current Biography 1982, 250). The Bourne Identity impacted Ludlum's subsequent work because this novel was the first of a trilogy. In addition to the success of Ludlum's previous novels and his name recognition within the reading community, the name recognition of his protagonist Jason Bourne boosted sales of the other parts of this trilogy The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Works Cited Current Biography Yearbook 1982 The New York Times, Thursday, March 20, 1980 The Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook 1982
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity received over fifteen reviews within the first two years of its publication. The reviews follow a common pattern. Amid the plot description, reviewers criticize this novel, including that the story is hastily written, lacking social value, excessively violent, full of overwrought prose, implausible, and devoid of depth. However, reviewers follow each of these criticisms with their stamp of approval on the book. In Book World's review of The Bourne Identity, Richard Harwood writes that "[The Bourne Identity] is in fact a lousy book. So I stayed up until 3 AM to finish it." Reviews in Publisher's Weekly, The Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, Book World, and The New York Times all praise the rapid pace of the plot. They recommend this book because of Ludlum's ability to put the hook in his readers. Harwood writes, "We have to know how it all comes out. That is the gift of a master storyteller." Ludlum accomplishes hooking his readers by providing a full dose of action in the opening pages. In a New York Times review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt writes, "In the first 100 pages so many things happen so fast- shootings, a karate fight, a kidnapping, an attempted rape? that we just don't get a chance to catch our breaths and complain about clichés or excess violence or purple writing." The reviews also mention that The Bourne Identity stays true to Ludlum's form of suspense thrillers, alerting readers that they should read this thriller if they are fans of Ludlum's previous works. Sources Harwood, Richard. "Hooked on the Lure of Ludlum." Book World 23 Mar. 1980: 3. Andrews, Peter. "Momentum is Everything." The New York Times Book Review 30 Mar. 1980: 7. Haynes, Michael A. Library Journal. 15 April 1980. v105. p.1003. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of the Times" New York Times 20 Mar 1980, C23. Bannon, Barbara A. Publisher's Weekly 8 Feb. 1980. p. 65.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity received over fifteen reviews within the first two years of its publication. The reviews follow a common pattern. Amid the plot description, reviewers criticize this novel, including that the story is hastily written, lacking social value, excessively violent, full of overwrought prose, implausible, and devoid of depth. However, reviewers follow each of these criticisms with their stamp of approval on the book. In Book World's review of The Bourne Identity, Richard Harwood writes that "[The Bourne Identity] is in fact a lousy book. So I stayed up until 3 AM to finish it." Reviews in Publisher's Weekly, The Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, Book World, and The New York Times all praise the rapid pace of the plot. They recommend this book because of Ludlum's ability to put the hook in his readers. Harwood writes, "We have to know how it all comes out. That is the gift of a master storyteller." Ludlum accomplishes hooking his readers by providing a full dose of action in the opening pages. In a New York Times review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt writes, "In the first 100 pages so many things happen so fast- shootings, a karate fight, a kidnapping, an attempted rape? that we just don't get a chance to catch our breaths and complain about clichés or excess violence or purple writing." The reviews also mention that The Bourne Identity stays true to Ludlum's form of suspense thrillers, alerting readers that they should read this thriller if they are fans of Ludlum's previous works. Sources Harwood, Richard. "Hooked on the Lure of Ludlum." Book World 23 Mar. 1980: 3. Andrews, Peter. "Momentum is Everything." The New York Times Book Review 30 Mar. 1980: 7. Haynes, Michael A. Library Journal. 15 April 1980. v105. p.1003. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of the Times" New York Times 20 Mar 1980, C23. Bannon, Barbara A. Publisher's Weekly 8 Feb. 1980. p. 65.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity was published in 1980 by Robert Marek Publishers and quickly climbed the bestsellers list. In Ludlum's twelfth novel, including two that he wrote under the pen name Jonathan Ryder, the protagonist Jason Bourne struggles to find his true identity after suffering amnesia. However, he fights to defend his life at the same time because terrorists want him dead. Publishers translated The Bourne Identity into nine languages, and formatted it to audiocassette and videocassette due to its immense popularity. However, this book received little subsequent reception and does not stand out among Ludlum's assortment of bestsellers, therefore begging the question- What does The Bourne Identity teach us about bestsellers? Ludlum is one of six writers who held the top spot in more than 650 of the first 2,600 weeks of the bestsellers list. John Le Carre, who also made this list, and Sydney Sheldon also earned fame for their spy novels. These authors have proven that the spy genre can lead to bestsellers. However, novels can fit into many categories that often produce bestsellers. The Bourne Identity's bestseller status shows its ability to fit several of these categories in addition to genre. It shows that a book can become a bestseller for such factors as creating a David versus Goliath theme, bringing in contemporary history, taking advantage of the author's name recognition, developing an unlikely romance, and appealing to a wide age group. Robert Ludlum has created a successful formula for his novels, and even though this formula is often criticized, his recipe combines the right ingredients for a bestseller. The Bourne Identity fits under the spy genre. Ian Flemming's James Bond novels served as a catalyst for this genre, and John Le Carre earned recognition for such suspense thrillers as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, in the 1960s and 1970s. Why does this genre generate so many bestsellers? Spy novels take on a David versus Goliath feel. The spy protagonist must face off against an entire enemy all by himself. Jason Bourne is rescued after being severely injured and rendered completely amnesiac. He does not know who he is or where he is, but he takes clues to piece together his identity, realizing that the world's top professional killer, Carlos, has a death wish for him. Ludlum adapts the "me against the world" mentality by making Bourne an amnesiac. Because everything is new to him, his enemy has the home field advantage no matter where Bourne is. Bourne's girlfriend, instincts, and skills acquired while in Vietnam are his only help against Carlos and CIA agents who secretly manipulate him. Moreover, the spy genre fits under the category of suspense, which is a broader category of bestsellers. The Bourne Identity teaches readers that best selling suspense novels must make the reader want to continue reading. Reviews of this book repeatedly praise Ludlum's ability to draw readers into the novel early. In one book review, Peter Andrews writes, "The Bourne Identity represents Mr. Ludlum at his most breakneck. In the first two paragraphs of his preface, he manages to snuff out three espionage agents and unleash a secret international terrorist killer to prey on the flanks of the Free World." Other authors have found success in their ability to hold readers' interests. Many reviewers praised Ken Follett's Eye of the Needle for its high paced action and lauded Follett's ability to keep readers on the edge their seats. Newsweek's P.S Prescott commends the book for, "its remarkable pace, its astute use of violence, and sense of particular environments" (Maurer). This recognition is similar to The Bourne Identity's praise. Sidney Sheldon also falls into the category of authors who instantly seize readers' attention. According to a New York Times Book Review description of Sheldon's Master of the Game "may be literary junk, it is hard to put down once you get started" (McCown). These authors discovered that starting off strong increases the chances that readers will enjoy their books. Bestsellers often bring in contemporary historical events to increase their popularity. The early 1980s saw a rise in the terrorist saga in the thriller genre. In the spring of 1980, there were more than twelve such novels. The Bourne Identity brings in the real life personality of Carlos, a.k.a. Ilyich Ramírez Sánchez, a terrorist wanted by law since 1970. Although he was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 for murdering three men, authorities blame him for more than 80 killings and hundreds of injuries around the world during the 1970s and early 1980s. The Bourne Identity begins with a preface that includes two newspaper articles written in 1975. The first comes from the front page of The New York Times and the second from the Associated Press. Each introduces Carlos, connects him with terrorism across Europe, and ends by stating that this dangerous killer remains on the loose. These articles serve the purpose of generating fear and tension by refreshing the reader's memories. Because Carlos is a real man, readers also have a deeper desire to see him defeated. They have read about him in newspapers, and have heard stories about him on television and radio so they feel a deeper antagonism toward him. Other best selling novelists find success with incorporating contemporary events. Simon and Schuster note that in Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger, the plot is "as up to the minute as today's headlines and as frightening" (Bosler). A review in the Christian Science Monitor notes how this book relates with many of the questions that made headlines at the time. Sidney Sheldon also employs contemporary events. Although his characters and events are fictional, the background is real. Rage of Angels, written in 1980, has controversial implications about the Mafia and the New York Criminal Justice System, (Caples). By using events from the headlines, authors already have free and built in advertising because readers know something about the novel. Bestsellers often take advantage of name recognition of the author. The Bourne Identity spent 95 weeks on the bestseller list largely because of Robert Ludlum's name. By 1980, Ludlum established himself as a suspense writer. The Bourne Identity teaches us that bestsellers take advantage of the name recognition in their advertising. The cover of the book shows Ludlum's name in large letters at the top. Then a piece of artwork divides his name with the title, which is written across the bottom. This layout has an effect such that readers first easily spot Ludlum's name, and then see the title. Ludlum keeps this layout for several of his novel's covers, trivializing the importance of the title because "Ludlum" has become a brand name that readers now identify with. This also explains why his novels' popularity remains so brief. Ludlum wrote prolifically; he wrote around one novel per year in the 1980s. Because of Ludlum's name recognition, once he releases a new book, the previous bestseller gets bumped off the list. Ludlum's name recognition, coupled with the newspaper articles about Carlos, help eliminate the need for promotion. The Bourne Identity received little promotion; however, the book gained a spot on the national and Washington Post bestsellers lists before it was officially published on March 26, 1980. Because Ludlum stayed true to his genre of suspense thrillers, readers knew what type of book they were getting. They have seen his name atop the bestseller list since 1971; therefore his fans equate his name with a good book. The Bourne Identity also shows that bestsellers can develop an unlikely romance to increase readers' interest. Jason Bourne meets Marie St. Jacques, a Canadian economist, then immediately proceeds to kidnap her and threaten her life. However, "despite the rough treatment, she naturally falls in love with [him]" (Winks). Although Bourne needs someone to help him uncover his past, their pairing seems far-fetched after their unorthodox introduction. This unlikely romance serves a great purpose for Ludlum though. "The presence of Marie allows Ludlum to suspend the use of the rhetorical questions that mar his earlier fiction" (Skarda). Marie helps Jason through her contacts and knowledge. Critics attack Ludlum's chaste love scenes throughout his novels, but in The Bourne Identity, Jason and Marie's love affair serves as a literary vehicle for Ludlum. Ludlum does not allow Marie to get in the way of Bourne's adventures and bog down the novel though. Authors must always remember their audience and cater to them. Ludlum's first novel, The Scarlatti Inheritance, sets a standard for his fiction that each of his later works have built on. In a 1982 review of The Parsifal Mosaic, Susan Isaacs writes, "A Ludlum novel is to an adult what a roller coaster is to a child: a controlled thrill. Hearts pump, stomachs knot and no one gets hurt. It is not to everyone's taste, but for those who delight in a safe surge of adrenalin, it's great fun." Ludlum caters to adolescent fantasies such as saving the world, winning the girl, and defeating the evil enemy. Males love Ludlum's books, which helps explain why his romance scenes are so chaste. If readers want to read about profound love affairs, they would read a romance. Because Ludlum's novels cater to adolescent boys all the way to elderly men, his fan base is broader, facilitating The Bourne Identity's rise up the bestsellers list. Ludlum's broad audience expands globally too. The Bourne Identity shows that Americans as well as people from all over the world enjoy suspense novels because it has been translated 26 times. Ludlum's first thirteen novels have been published in twenty-three countries and seventeen languages. In addition to Ludlum's treatment of women in his novels, Ludlum caters to the male audience by his details. He describes the weapons that his characters use and the settings on which the action occurs. For example, he writes: "[An enemy] on the left had his right hand on the cloth of his raincoat. When he pulled it out he was holding a gun, a black .38 caliber automatic pistol with a perforated cylinder attached to the barrel. A silencer," (Ludlum, 58). This description serves several purposes. First, Ludlum heightens the suspense because readers learn that the protagonist faces a dangerous situation, but they must read through the description before encountering the action. Ludlum is careful rations his details to keep the story moving forward, however. Also, this description adds credibility to the scene. The quote describes a scene in which the protagonist is in a public building, so Ludlum must make readers believe that the enemy has a reasonable chance of killing Bourne without being caught by the public. Therefore he supplies the enemy with a small pistol with a silencer, a seemingly appropriate weapon for the situation. This passage shows that bestsellers must keep the audience in mind. Critics attack Ludlum's writing as formulaic; however, his formula has proven successful time and time again. The Bourne Identity adheres to specific categories that produce bestsellers, demonstrating that a book can become hugely popular by following certain trends. While readers' recognition of Ludlum's name remains the largest factor in this novel reaching the top of the bestseller list, Ludlum's ability to bring in contemporary news, to abide by the guidelines of the spy-suspense genre, to create and maintain a large fan base, and to develop an unlikely romance all show that bestsellers can rely on various methods of raising its popularity. Works Cited Andrews, Peter. "Momentum is Everything" The New York Times Book Review 3/30/1980, p.7. Bosler, Meredith. Database Entry on Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. http://www.engl.virginia.edu:8000/courses/bestsellers/picked.books.cgi, 5/1/00. Caples, Kate. Database Entry on Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels. Assignment 3. http://www.engl.virginia.edu:8000/courses/bestsellers/search.cgi?title=Rage+of+ Angels, 5/1/00. Isaacs, Susan. Current Biography 1982, p. 250 Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Identity. New York: Bantam, 1986. Skarda, Patricia. "Robert Ludlum" The Dictionary of Literary Biography. 1982. Maurer, Geoffrey. Database Entry on Ken Follett's Eye of the Needle. Assignment 4. http://www.engl.virginia.edu:8000/courses/bestsellers/search.cgi?title=Eye+of+the+Needle, 5/1/00. McCown, Stacy. Database Entry on Sidney Sheldon's Master of the Game. Assignment 4. http://www.engl.virginia.edu:8000/courses/bestsellers/picked.books.cgi, 5/1/00. Winks, Robin W. New Republic: 11/25/1981, p. 38.
You are not logged in. (Sign in)