RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Those were the days

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 08 Sep 2000

I wouldn't call it a myth at all ... I find the hard-boiled genre when it was formulated to be the American response to the realism movement in Europe within the mystery genre at about the same time. Realism is a vital element to the genre to the point that without it I'd argue that the piece wasn't hard-boiled. 'Course their realism and then there's realism ... just depends on how anal retentive you are as to which you follow. I'm a gray is the color of reality man myself ... I leave the black and white decisions for others to grasp.

All authors including (or especially including) diarists or historians write even nonfiction from a subjective point of view ... reporters report the reality of our daily existence with a subjective slant based upon their own beliefs as well as their perspectives ... history is his-story quite literally at times. Oh, there's undeniable facts of course ... Lincoln is dead ... but take the (at times 'undeclared') war with the natives of America and the colonial interests of Europe ... the popular (conservative) view of history at one time reported the invading forces victories as battles and their defeats as massacres ... when an objective eye shows that both occurred at the hands of each side, but quite a bit more often by the side with the superior technology. Calling it a war ... while defensible ... is a subjective view as well ... not that my Choctaw ancestors would mind, they traded their culture for the invaders at the beginning.


-----Original Message----- From: Chris Routledge Sent: Friday, September 08, 2000 8:32 AM

I realize this was tongue-in cheek, but isn't this one of the myths of the hard-boiled, that it's more realistic than other forms of crime writing? Since when did a lone detective solve anything, for example? As a literary form the hard-boiled gives a subjective impression of reality - for commercial reasons (among others) hard-boiled writers perpetuate a popular
(and not necessarily accurate) view of reality in order to sell more books. It's the sensibility we're buying into, not the reportage. If I want hard-boiled reality, I'll go for a walk along Liverpool docks at night - but I don't want it that badly, so I'll stick to Horace McCoy.

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