RARA-AVIS: Re: Nits Picked While You Wait....

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 07 Jun 2000

Juri wrote:

>Well, you caught me in the act. Of course the original pulp fiction is trashy
>and - of-courser! - violent, especially the shudder pulps. But in Tarantino
>pulp seems also to include stuff like porn novels and bad Hongkong B-movies.

Does he? I know they've influenced him, but has he actually said they're pulp fiction? I generally think of pulp fiction as a literary term, but I guess B films might qualify...

>You're probably right, but the usage of the word seems to have gotten out of
>hand. "The Caine Mutiny"? Why not "Gone With the Wind"? The editors of "Pure
>Pulp" (Pronzini, Greenberg, Gorman) claim that anything that is popular is
>pulp fiction. Do they mean that if Dostoyevsky is popular, he is pulp fiction?
>(Well, he has this guy kill that guy with an axe...)

I dunno. Is PURE PULP a new collection, or one I missed? What do they actually say? Without hearing their actual argument, and possible justifications, it's hard to really argue their conclusions. Certainly, I agree that including THE CAINE MUTINY is a stretch, but then, I already think Pronzini, at least, is a little wonky when it comes to some of his pronouncements. Remember, he also said hardboiled lit is dead...

But I think something like PEYTON PLACE might qualify. Remember that the pulps never consisted primarily of cheap, trashy crime fiction -- they also consisted of cheap, trashy tales of romance, science fiction, sports, westerns, fantasy, horror and everything else. And just like the crime pulps, most of it was crap. It might be fun, entertaining crap, but most of it was still crap. Writers like Chandler and Hammett were (are) very rare.

>I've never been able to say the real difference between the pulps and the

No, but it was a digest, not a pulp. If the purists insist on an actual, literal meaning of pulp fiction where only things published in the pulps qualify, then anything published in book form or in the digests or slicks wouldn't qualify.

I'd be more than happy to accept any of George's collection that the purists don't consider "real" pulp fiction. Get to work on it, guys. Convince the library they've accepted stuff on false pretences, and re-route all the "bogus" pulp fiction my way. I expect delivery by next week.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/

An A&E Mystery.com Site of the Week, but don't let that discourage you.

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