RARA-AVIS: interesting article on detective "theory" in Boston Review

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 11 Mar 2000

"The Mysterious Romance of Murder." Subtitled by the Boston review as "The enduring highbrow fascination with detective stories." Written by David Lehman.

He starts off with "Every so often somebody reprises Edmund Wilson's famous put-down of detective novels, "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?" Wilson regarded the genre as terminally subliterary, either an addiction or a harmless vice on a par with crossword puzzles. But the truth is that for every Edmund Wilson who resists the genre there are dozens of intellectuals who have embraced it wholeheartedly. The enduring highbrow appeal of the detective novel--and its close cousin, the spy thriller--is one of the literary marvels of the century. How to account for the genre's popularity? And what does it tell us about ourselves?"

Check it out at http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR25.1/lehman.html

My favorite line:
"Noir is what you get if you take Chandler's "Great Wrong Place" and substitute a more fallible detective for Marlowe."

Best wishes

Frederick Zackel

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