Re: RARA-AVIS: Race Williams and the KKK

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 22 May 2001

Mark Sullivan wrote:

> George said: "arguably the most original American icon there is, the
> hard-boiled private eye."
> This may be the wrong place for this statement, but what about the
> cowboy?

South America has a similar icon in the gaucho, which IIRC developed (in real life) contemporaneously with the American cowboy.

The hard-boiled dick, on the other hand, is sui generis.

I remember reading an essay written by Alberto Edwards, the author of the "Roman Calvo" stories (Calvo was a Sherlock Holmes homage whose adventures were set in Santiago, Chile, and appeared from 1912-1920). Edwards' argument (it was written in the 1930s) was basically that the private eye would look ridiculous in Santiago, or Buenos Aires, or Rio, that no reader could take it seriously because everyone -knew- that the private eye belonged in NYC or in LA. Edwards wrote this when South American publishing houses had for decades been cranking off gaucho stories in dime novels that read for all the world like cowboy stories.


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