Re: RARA-AVIS: Style vs Attitude

Date: 10 Feb 2000

"In looking at recent threads on this board, there seems to be a lot of disagreement as to whether Hardboiled's a style or a world view. Now I'm not saying there isn't a downbeat attitude to it, but let's be realistic. These were not a bunch of existentialists sitting around in a cafe, expounding on their philosophies. They were the fictional equivalent of newspapermen, which many of them were. They wrote for very little money, so they worked fast, and they wrote for a market that demanded action and violence. If you look at how much most of them wrote, you'd realize they were making their Underwoods sing like machine guns. Don't get me wrong, a hell of a lot of them were very intelligent, and their personal philosophies came out in their work. But they were pragmatic writers who understood the medium. And much of the H-B school was based on very clipped sentences describing action. I think to understand the H-B writer, you have to realize they were writing for a market, and for a living. I wouldn't reduce it to a formula, but as far as getting published, they knew what sold."

Bingo! It's also worth noting that many of them, including Hammett, wrote
      in a variety of genres, including supernatural horror, and "weird
      menace" which was supernatural horror, with the superantural element
      explained away as a hoax at the end. They wrote what the market they
      were writing for demanded that they write.


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