Re. that FJ article, 'On R. C.' I had a quick scan of the
article yesterday, and here's my summary of it.
[Most of the meat of this lengthy article is in Pt II.]
(BTW, if anyone wants the article, contact me
Jameson discusses RC's style and biography. FJ compares RC to
Nabokov and Robbe-Grillet.
FJ claims 'the detective story form is without ideological
content, w/o any overt political or social or philosophical
point, [which] permists pure stylistic experimentation' (p.
RC is 'a painter of American life', in 'fragmentary pictures
of setting and place' (p. 626).
FJ also discusses Proust, and the idea that the detective
story is 'a pretext' for 'isolated perceptions' (p.
Section closes w. a discussion of Gertrude Stein's ideas
about the differences in 'atmosphere' between American and
British detective stories.
FJ cfs Am. lit w. UK lit. The 'great period' of Am l.it for
FJ is between the wars. Post WWII, the 'localised
differences' [btwn diff Am. regional lits] have gone, leaving
a standardised literature of 'fragmentation' and
'dehumanisation' [ie decentred, post-modern]. This postmodern condition produces 'a crisis' in Am lit from FJ.
FJ locates RC at a midpoint, between post-war and interwar
Am. lit; he does this by combining RC's interwar biography
with his decentred geography (ie LA) ti suggest RC
anticipates 'the realities of the 1950s and 1960s' (p.
FJ suggests the detective novel works like the picaresque
novel, the chr of the detective works to unite disparate
elements, allowing a kind of re-unification of the fragments
[ie to counter the fragmentation of postmodernity]
'Marlowe visits either those places you don't look at or
those you can't look at: the anonymous or the wealthy or the
secret' (p. 630).
For FJ this 'presentation of social material' is more a
function of Europ'n lit thatn Am lit.
FJ suggests Am. 'political reality' is a 'double system': he
'glamourous national politics' with shabby, corrupt local politics.
[My, how Am. politics have changed sice FJ wrote this in 1970!!]
FJ finds RC's dialogue cliched, resembling early faulkner or
Hemingway, but with some underlying emotion, which gives RC's
sppech patterns their charactistic *inauthenticity*.
FJ also notes that steretypical speech patterns are
charactistic of films of the 1930s--stock chrs with stock
Detective fiction is a form of popular art. Popular art is
camp. Pop art is a form of nostalgia.
[From what I recall, Pt IV doesn't really add anything]
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