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

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 09 Sep 2000

Chris asked:

"Sure, I agree. But that still doesn't explain why hard-boiled writing is considered more realistic than the cozies."

Well, because Chandler said so:

"Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought duelling pistolsss, curare, and tropical fish."

The difference isn't whether or not the society within the book exists or existed, but how the society deals with the murder and its aftermath. Hardboiled gives the impression of being about more than a simple puzzle, of murder and crime making lasting impressions.

Of course, Chandler also wrote:

". . . but you must not take a polemic piece of writing like my own article from Atlantic [The Simple Art of Murder, from which the above quote was pulled] too literally. I could have written a piece of propaganda in favor of the English dertective story just as easily. All polemic writing is over-stated. The instant you admit that both sides in a controversy may be right, you have thrown away your whole argument."

By the way, Chris, I liked the Catholic/Protestant analogy, seemed very apt to me.


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Sep 2000 EDT