RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-VIS: Top 100 Hard-Boiled Characters

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 23 Mar 2002


Re the following excerpt from the BOOKS magazine parameters:

". . . rank the top 100 characters in literature since 1900."

Literature means the written word, not necessarily the printed word. And if you're using the BOOKS list as a template, you should note one of the characters on that list, Gus MacRae, was created for a movie script.
 When the screenplay failed (at first) to be produced, Larry McMurtry novelized the script into LONESOME DOVE. Ultimately, the movie WAS produced, only it was for television and it became an expanded
"mini-series," and it didn't reach the airwaves until the book had been published, hit the best-seller lists, won a Pulitzer, and been accalimed a classic
(not bad for that bastard form, the "novelization"). The only difference between Friday and MacRae in terms of their eligibility is that the dramatic script featuring MacRae, though written first, wasn't produced until after the prose form was published, and with Friday it was the reverse.

If HAMLET or MACBETH had been written in the 20th Century instead of the 15th, would you really say that neither of those characters was worthy of being put on a list of the most important characters in the era's literature because they appeared in stage plays instead of books?

And if you are willing to stretch a point for an essentially visual medium like comic strips, why not for film or television which, like any dramatic form, begins with the written word?

As for supporting characters, I've already conceded that point.


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