RE: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Character Traits

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 01 May 2002

I'm still not buying your definition, it is too simplistic and fails the Wizard of Oz test. If Dorothy Gale fits, then it can't be hardboiled. I'll take tough, but not colloquial as definitive. While I agree that most hardboiled characters are colloquial in their speech (a necessity of location and vocation), I don't feel that it's definitive or that there's conclusive evidence that every hardboiled character classic and otherwise is strictly blue-collar in origin either.

If you accept that the genre is evolutionary in nature than it logically follows that it's devolutionary as well. Thus Sherlock Holmes is hardboiled for his era and culture, while not being hardboiled for ours
... but you can't judge any one fictional or real within your own context, they won't fit. Just as Marlowe and the other classic HB characters are not as hardboiled in today's world as they were in their own.

There's a definition out there and tough is a part of it and colloquial will have it's place, but the genres too big for the small box you're trying to stuff it into.

Anthony Dauer
Alexandria, Virginia

2nd Annual Country Noir Issue ...
... submit by 4 May 2002
-----Original Message----- From: JIM DOHERTY Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 7:49 PM
They're both roughly the same quality and both are necessary subsidiaries of "tough," and, consequently, don't need to be added.

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