RARA-AVIS: Re: Great Wrong Place

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 10 Feb 2000

> > > As for D. H. Lawrence and "the great wrong place," check out his STUDIES
> > > IN CLASSIC AMERICAN LITERATURE. And that's where you'll find out that
> > > Natty Bumppo is the true ancestor of Mike Hammer.
> >
> > He's the true ancestor of almost every private eye.

In response to the above, Mark B. wrote:

>If that's so, I I wonder what Mark Twain would have said about his Natty's
>I guess I'm getting critic happy the last couple of days, but that comment
>certainly shouldn't be too obscure for this list.

Sorry, Mark, but that's James Fenimore Cooper's Natty Bumpo, not Twain's. Twain's the one who dubbed Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales the "Snapping Twig Saga" or something like that, in an essay, right?

And, um, I'm glad D.H. Lawrence agrees with me that Natty Bumpo was an early P.I. That's the Lady Chatterly's Lover guy, not Peter O'Toole, right?

And Juri chimed in with:

>What I was saying about
>Hammett's and Lovecraft's relationship to all this was that they break
>the dichotomy by saying that even the healing nature has been
>damaged. The nature is all the same satanic mill.

Hmmm...not news to us Canadians. If I remember my classes in Mrs. Ticehurst's North American Lit class correctly, nature has always been something of a Great Wrong, or at least Dangerous Place, in much of our literature. And the idea's certainly not limited to CanLit. As far as the idea of nature as the Great Wrong Place goes, there's also James Dickey's DELIVERANCE, Robert Parker's WILDERNESS and Joe Lansdale's (him again!) SAVAGE SEASON, three good, tough examples off the top of my head (though DELIVERANCE is a bit too artsy to be truly hard-boiled -- Dickey makes Ross Macdonald look like Hammett). All great stuff, though, to read on a camping trip.

Hmmm...I'm getting way too literary here. If I don't shut up soon, people will think I know what I'm talking about....but thanks for putting up with me, and I hope I passed the audition.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ Now: The last few days to vote for The Thrillies. Soon: The P.I. Poll on Short Fiction, plus new stuff of our own.

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