Re: RARA-AVIS: Style vs Attitude

Date: 10 Feb 2000

In a message dated 2/10/00 7:43:39 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< There's a lot of truth to what you've said, but anyone who looks at
 Hammett's life or Chandler's life after they began to make money, can see
 that these guys (and many of their contemporaries) were very serious about
 their work, and acutely aware of what they wanted to achieve as craftsmen or
 artists. >>

Yes, when a writer becomes financially secure, he becomes an "artist." But that's usually after a great deal of writing, especially in the time of the pulps (pulp novels included). But there was never a hard-boiled manifesto. If there was, I probably wouldn't read hard-boiled. I guess it started with Joseph Shaw pointing to a Hammet story and saying, "write like this guy." And the authors would try to write within that formula, but would also write like themselves. And one of the things that's most impressive to me about the hard-boiled pulps is not the Hammetts or the Chandlers or the Ross Macdonalds
(although they all earned their reputations). All genres have their greats. What's impressive is how often I can pick up a book knowing nothing about it or its author, and have it be a solid good read. I just bought ONE FOR THE DEATH HOUSE by a J.N. Flynn, (based on the cover), and while it wasn't stellar, it was deeply satisfying read. That's what makes me want to understand the genre.

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