Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Small World

From: pabergin (
Date: 09 Jul 2000

>Sorry for annoying you, Paul -- it wasn't my intent.

Oh, sure it was, Kev. What else are friends for? (And I can probably round up hundreds of DotL-heads willing to testify to your agent-provocateur instincts.)

I would, just to drag this on a bit longer, point out that metaphor and simile are legit literary devices that can be used effectively within a bare-bones narrative style. Chandler was a master at it, and Ross MacD only slightly behind. Poeticism doesn't soften a story, but merely adds texture.

The distinguishing trait of the style of writing I consider HB (or American Naturalism, if we want to get terribly Ivy about it) is a straight-ahead sort of storytelling which may be EMBELLISHED by such poeticism, but which is never SOFTENED by the sort of overqualification (and narrative hesitancy) that automatically comes with the overuse of adjectives and adverbs or irrelevant flights of God-am-I-a-great-writer fancy, something for which I assume you would not indict either Ray C. or Ross M.

The sort of thing, in other words, that is a given in most modern European writing.

I think it comes from a difference in the way that different societies view what language is -- convenient but unimportant tool, or defining cultural treasure -- but that's a personal take and I've not the time to write a thesis on it.

Well, yet anyway.

How it stands at the moment is, I stand by my statement that HB is uniquely American.

I also found it interesting, BTW, that so many respondents to my original post cited the popularity of American HB (Wade Miller, et al) across the pond. Well, duh. I never said that Euros didn't READ HB, merely that they weren't very good at producing same. PB

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