Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: RARA-AVIS: convention vs clich鼯H1> From: George Upper (
Date: 07 May 2002

--- Mario Taboada <> wrote:
> <<Is in fact the Private Eye himself a cliche?>>
> Yes, or an archetype, which is the same thing but
> higher,thicker and deeper.

I agree. I think in ye olden days (circa 1925), just being a hard-boiled private eye was almost enough. The last thing any of us wants to see today, though, is that same character with nothing new. I mean, Marlowe is unbeatable, but how many Marlowes have there been in the past thirty years? Gracious plenty, in my opinion. So we want him to be an alcoholic, or a woman, or ethnic, or in some other diagnosable / catagorical sense Other. We want different. BUT we also want to know what genre we're dealing with, so if the writer is going to mess with some of the conventions, others should probably be left intact. This is one of the things that, to me, makes a writer like Lawrence Block stand out. Matt Scudder is an alcoholic, office-less, weapon-less, license-less PI, but he's clearly a PI nonetheless, charging a fee
(although not so much per day plus expenses), working police contacts, getting info from informers, etc. He's unconventional without just leaving the genre behind--he has, in fact, changed the genre.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal

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