Re: RARA-AVIS: Hard Boiled

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 09 Mar 2000

On Wed, 8 Mar 2000, William Denton wrote:

> I'm no weak sister. I can take it. What does he say? Can you summarize?

Jopi Nyman says that the hardboiled literature (and not just detective fiction) arose when the women stepped into the man's world, i.e. the so-called public sphere, and men started to feel uncomfortable. And some guys came up with the hardboiled stuff, where men could still feel like men and take no shit from any woman or any unmanly man. Nyman claims that all hardboiled fiction is an attempt to get control over the world and the women and everything and the sadness so familiar in the genre comes from the failure of that attempt.

Furthermore, Nyman claims that the hardboiled fiction is an attempt to escape into the past, into the world of Frontier ideals, of Theodore Roosevelt and Natty Bumppo. So hardboiled fiction, although praised for being radical socially and otherwise, is a reactionary form of literature because it abandons history.

Here you have it, neatly summarized. Of course the overall argument is much better developed, but this is just about it.


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