Re: RARA-AVIS: The meaning of hardboiled

Date: 12 Jul 2000

Thanks, Jim.

Hmmmm, "...effusive, overblown, pretentious dreck." Almost sounds kind of like a return to Thomas Wolfe, doesn't it? The kind of reaction you describe below makes me glad I decided to stop with an M.A. and to steer my career away from academia 20 years ago. Jesus, my favorite critic back in grad school was Leslie Fiedler. These days I run into young M.A. and Ph.D. candidates in English who've never heard of him. I'm the kind of schmo who still thinks that books like THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST have literary merit. Ah, the perfidy of academic fashion. I guess we all can agree on one thing: whatever hardboiled is, it ain't Thomas Wolfe.


------------------------- Hi Kip,
    No anti-Carver at this stop, though I admit to reading him always in small doses. Anti-Carver sentiments have been on parade through writing programs and college English Departments for a decade, and the reaction against Carver and minimalism has blessed all with the effusive, overblown, pretentious dreck flowing from so many University literary journals these days.
    At times Carver was solid hard-boiled though I doubt he saw it as a goal.
 His voice like that of John Gregory Dunne, Nelson Algren, Scott Smith, Jim Harrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and others not usually classified as hard-boiled reveal patches of the world where, toughness rules but people "stand up" anyway, where hopes are leavened by despair, and experience smashes holes through optimism. As Kevin or someone else said here recently, it's the center of the writing that makes its hard-boiled, not the presence of a detective, the inclusion of cynical dialogue, or any of the other "hallmarks" of the genre.

                                        Jim Blue

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Jul 2000 EDT