RE: Hardboiled Holmes (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Digest V3 #867)

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 08 Sep 2001

Doyle was writing into the transition period ... if Holmes is Edwardian then I'd say that Doyle must have been one of those who invented/created/defined what Edwardian is since he predates the actual period. I can't recall names now, but there are Regency authors who have hints of the Victorian era within their writing during the transition period from their periods into the next as well.

I think you hit on the nail's head with "...hard-boiled in his own way." If the definition is to be one that can grow and yet stay within its foundation (once it grows beyond it's foundation (the definitive works of the genre such as Hammett, Chandler, etc., in this case) it's no longer within that definition in my opinion and constitutes something else, whether that's a new and unique form depends on what it grows into).

Anthony Dauer
Alexandria, Virginia

Judas is looking for a few Femme Fatales for its next issue:
-----Original Message----- From: Chris Routledge Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2001 5:59 AM
Yes, very finickety. Study in Scarlet was written in 1887 (can't get higher Victorian than that), but Valley of Fear is 1915, so Holmes as Modernist anyone? Defining by writers by dates is no more useful than defining them by (naturalised) nationality. It's just one factor.
I'll give you this, but I still think the overall tone of the stories (if not Holmes in all cases) is a Victorian one of redemption and choice. You can condemn (and punish) someone far more strongly if you believe they have chosen to do something. Unemployed? Lazy, right? The problem is, writers change their ideas as they go on. So Greene isn't hard-boiled in the sense of say, Hammett, but was aware of what was going on and could be hard-boiled in his own way. Seems strange to me that a group of people interested in popular fiction should be so bothered about making categories so rigidly. I thought that was for Harold Bloom and pals. I reckon it's quite interesting to find hard-boiled elements where you wouldn't expect them. So Hamlet, well, he's not *so* far from Phil Marlowe, if we leave out the family troubles.
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