RARA-AVIS: Hannibal/Will Denton

Peter Walker (pw@pw.cablenet.co.uk)
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 11:52:36 +0000

Bill........... Is Hannibal hard-boiled? My first response to this is why me? There has been so much in rara in even the last few days that is debatable HB that I wonder why this is an issue now? Eg Sabastian Japrisot "Lady With etc" - not Hb and very probably phsychological and therefore worthy of rec.atrs.mystery. In order to sustain this point of view you could at least be consistant. One example maybe but a quick look over recent postings highlights many other examples, Here's a good one:
>If Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy is correct, Western Civilization is
> over....
Maybe that belongs to rec.arts.bullshit. Put it another way. Here are some key HB themes all covered in Hannibal: Child abuse Police corruption / Political corruption Corrupt Wealthy Buisnesmen (subverting the law etc) Women / Strong women characters (are they HB?) Ok? Take James Ellroy. He wrote a serial killer book as well though claerly we carn't discuss this. Or Michael Connolly's book The Poet? Nope. Both there writers are HB - are they? Or are they glorified police procedurals? Are polie procedurals Ok for this list? Mark Sullivan wrote:
> In cozies, all of society's ills are ritually
> bound within the person of the murderer. When s/he is caught,
> society is rid of evil and again makes sense -- the crime was an
> aberration. In hardboiled and noir (snip) the evil is systemic
> and the capture, incarceration and/or death of the criminal is a
> symbolic victory at best. It is clear to everyone, writer,
> character and reader alike, that the particular crime was not
> unusual at all.
> A serial killer, however, is defined as being outside of society,
> therefore his actions are no indictment of the society. If his
> making is explored at all, it is always given a singular,
> psychological explanation, not a sociological one. And when this
> unique serial killer is caught, society can return to normalcy.
But this is exactly - well pehaps not exactly - the point of the end of Hannibal. The killer inside us (whopps another reference to a psychological novel by some guy called Jim Thompson - should we go for rec.arts.booksthatdontfitintodefintions ?) idea at the end - we create out own killers, society is rotten, etc etc - sounds like HB. There is one great little scene in Hannibal where Lector goes to an exhibition on torture everyday and steps inside the ropes not to look at the exhibits but to lean on the wall and watch the crowd. My point - apart from the fact that I enjoyed the book a lot and wanted to chat with people about it because I thought 'what the hell'
- is that at least compared to some (or a lot) of the stuff we cover here this was at least worth a chat. Peter.

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