Re: RARA-AVIS: Still on Daly

From: George Upper (
Date: 23 May 2001

--- Juri Nummelin <> wrote:
> I'm not sure I'm getting your point here. Why should
> there be? What
> would it matter, if there had been non-fictional
> precedents? Do you mean
> that all the fictional characters in the history of
> literature are born
> out of non-fictional precedents? Or a critic must
> seek the precedents
> from the outside world? This sounds pretty weird to
> me.

My point was simply in response to an earlier post. Actually, I was arguing that there were no non-fictional precedents, not that there should have been.

He just
> mixed everything
> together, but didn't really come up with anything
> new.

That's like saying the inventor of bread didn't really invent anything. He or she just put flour and water and eggs and salt (or whatever the original ingredients were) together in a new way.

> As to the question why he is still regarded as the
> first P.I. writer, I
> can only say that's how literary history works.
> There is a canon, a body
> of acknowledged works, and there is nothing beyond
> it. Daly, however
> hated or disliked he is, is a part of the canon.

Here I definitely have to disagree. Daly as part of the canon? What canon is that? He wrote 17 books and literally hundreds of short stories. Three of those books and three of the stories have even been reprinted. That's a canonical writer? Heck, Hammett and Chandler barely make it into "the" canon. Daly's about as far out of it as you can be.

He is NOT regarded as the first PI writer. He is regarded as the first HB PI writer, and generally as the first HB writer. As has been pointed out, the latter designation depends on a definition of HB, which is nebulous at best. (Whenever asked for a definition, I always say "I know it when I see it, except for those times when I don't.") I agree 100% that there were earlier PI characters, and that some of those characters exhibit a one or more traits of what we think of today as HB; but I cannot think of an earlier HB PI than Terry Mack.


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices

# 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 : 23 May 2001 EDT