Re: RARA-AVIS: knighthood?

From: Bill Hagen (
Date: 29 Nov 2000

Agree that Travis gets a trifle tiresome with his oft-rehearsed self-doubts, VIZ tin-horn knighthood. But I've always read it as a genuine attempt at idealism, in a world and genre which naturally suspects idealism. The Quixote reference puts it in that context. In spite of the opening knight business in The Big Sleep, always seemed to me that Marlowe expressed it more in terms of code, what detectives do. It may read better because it doesn't raise the question of whether there is anything more than the code.

Found myself wondering too,whether writers that use the knighthood reference might be influenced by earlier Western writers who wanted to fashion a chivalric cowboy hero. Wister's The Virginian comes to mind.

Bill Hagen

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