Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Character Traits

From: Jess Nevins (
Date: 01 May 2002

Anthony Dauer wrote:

> 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

Loath though I am to enter this ultimately futile debate...Holmes isn't hardboiled, if only because of class. He's relatively comfortable and works because he wants to, not because he has to. He's fairly obviously of upper middle class, if not upper class, even if he's not a member of Society.

A more hard-boiled Victorian detective would be John Bennett's Tom Fox (from REVELATIONS OF A DETECTIVE, 1860), a cop who actually worked the streets rather than lounging about his apartment using drugs, playing the violin, and waiting for his clients to come to him.


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