RARA-AVIS: RE: RARA AVIS: Ellroy/Golden Age

From: Michael Sharp ( msharp@binghamton.edu)
Date: 02 Sep 2000

jess wrote:

>This is a different definition of "golden age" than the one I'm used to,
obviously. A "golden age" is a time when >things were better, and I really don't believe that
>Ellroy--or most of us, for that matter--think that things were better
during the 1940s.

>If you mean "golden age" in terms of publishing, sure. But that isn't the
context in which the original poster >alleged Ellroy's affection for the 1940s and 1950s.

Depends what you mean by "things." "Things" were better, I think, writing-wise. And while I'm sure not many people have some burning desire to return to and live in the middle of the 20th century, I do think the whole impulse to read hardboiled fiction today is permeated with nostalgia. I think the aesthetic of earlier times, the brands of masculinity, the pre-electronic hands-on-ness of the time ... some combo of these things
*is* appealing to lots of readers, I think. Not all of them, not for me anyway, but writers and film makers simply would not keep returning to the 30s-50s if there weren't something in them that held appeal for people. In Ellroy and Mosley, Chinatown and LA Confidential, desire for some
"original" hardboiled moment is everywhere in contemporary hb culture. Not good, not bad, necessarily, just there.


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