Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V4 #231

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 22 Apr 2002

Jim D wrote:

"Mild and fatherly, yes, but never with an upper-crust elegance. Smith isn't a lace-curtain Irishman, he's a shanty mick and proud of it. His speech is the speech of a colloquial Irish immigrant, not an upper-class pedant. He has the common, colloquial touch that Gutman not only lacks, but disdains."

It seems to me that you are now expanding your colloquial bounds to fit your gut reactions of who is and who is not hardboiled. How is Dudley's exacting speech informal? It may not be elegant, but colloquial? (And an argument could be made that there is elegance in colloquial speech.)

By this definition, James Bond is not hardboiled because he speaks well. And what about Hannibal Lecter? He's downright eloquent in his speech.

There also seems to be a class bias here. Upper class cannot be hardboiled?

What about Jason Starr's upwardly mobile characters? They seem pretty damned hardboiled to me in the way they pursue their goals; does their speaking well rule them out? I haven't read McCoy's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye yet, but isn't the main character a well-educated, son of privilege? I'm guessing he speaks well, too.


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