RARA-AVIS: Re: Gender and Company

From: Bill Hagen ( billha@ionet.net)
Date: 29 May 2000

I sure have enjoyed this now, somewhat frayed thread. (Not sure a thread can be flattened, however--:) As someone said, I feel like I came to the party too late. In my case, I early checked in with the book blurb and am just now walking back through the door. Sorry to miss the fun.

The book that began this discussion was subtitled: ...Women Rewriting the Hard-Boiled Tradition. While most of the discussion has centered on
"voice," the reviewer says the book says that the women authors challenge
"linguistic, intellectual, and narrative paradigms that traditionally have shaped the genre." I'm assuming paradigms means more than voice or even subject. I wonder if the authors take into account the reshaping of the genre that has occurred quite naturally since the 1950s, a reshaping that both males and females have contributed to. Believe I'll try to get a copy of this book to review, and send a version to RA.

Bill Crider's unfortunate experience at a book signing should remind us that when theory or criticism becomes a "politics," then creative writers are endangered. There's a funny non-HB academic mystery called _The Book_ by Robert Grudun (I think) in which a creative writer is threatened or killed. Those most suspected are the literary theorists, who rather hate the thought that new stuff is being written that might disrupt their discussions. [In a sense the crime is just an occasion for making fun of different kinds of academic discourse, just to give fair warning.]

This discussion has been a good one because we generally insist on backing up generalities with specific titles--and I have now added several names & titles to look for.

BTW, I agree with whomever it was who would have us acknowledge that P.D. James has written some pretty dark stuff, whether it deserves to be called noir or not. _Innocent Blood_ kept coming back to me for months after I read it.

Bill Hagen
< billha@ionet.net>

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