RARA-AVIS: Gothics and HB

From: James Rogers ( jetan@ionet.net)
Date: 06 Feb 2000

       I vaguely recall that the puzzle in _The Thin Man_ was arguably lifted from Sheridan LeFanu's fine mystery _Wylder's Hand_. Certainly _The Dain Curse_ is an updated rendition of the Radcliffe style Gothic, just as
_The Maltese Falcon_ can be regarded as kind of a riff on _The Moonstone_. I also think that you could look at the early "casebook" style detective shorts as a kind of precursor to the thirst for vicarious realism that informed some of the hardboiled stuff.
       I believe that a lot of this semi-realism can be found in the stuff that predates the Sherlock Holmes stories. For instance, though Dickens's Inspector Bucket is usually a bit of a comic character, Dickens appears to have drawn him from a real life model (whose name escapes me) and he is anything but comic in the episode where he walks into the London underworld....a touch of the Ed McBain there.

A.N. Smith said:
>The professor said about my thought, "To equate pulp with
>gothic is to do violence to both terms."

   This seems like one of those opaque, academic commnets that sounded great when I was 18, but which have left me scratching my head ever since. Since pulp writers range from Stephen Crane to Robert Leslie Bellem, pulp is no sort of catagory to begin with. Gothic is almost as broad, as the few examples already brought up by list members demonstrate. Both "Noir" and
"Gothic" are unhelpful terms to an extent, insofar as they represent an attitude and an ambience rather than a particular type of story or technique.


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