RARA-AVIS: Unfinished business (Chandler/Poodle Springs; Woolrich/Into The Night)

From: Eddie Duggan ( Eddie.Duggan@suffolk.ac.uk)
Date: 21 May 2002

WordRunner@aol.com wrote [about Poodle Springs]:

> the shortcomings of the work lie in the distance that
> the writing in this apple and it's (characters and
> storyline) have fallen from the tree. You won't walk
> away from a reading of this one saying:
>> What a beautifully crafted masterpiece. Truly
>> incredible. How he came up with line after line,
>> I can't even begin to give examples, I'd be
>> reproducing the whole book. The book reads as if
>> Chandler just sat down and it poured out of him.
> Overall, It's pretty mediocre stuff for a Chandler book.

While Mario Taboada < matrxtech@yahoo.com> wrote:

> <<Since this is the first time since I've joined the
> list that I've read more than a short story of Chandler's,
> and given the recent discussion of Parker, I thought I'd
> ask rara-avians their view of how good a job Parker did
> with Poodle Springs. (Could you imagine if an unfinished
> painting by Van Gogh was found and some established,
> popular, contemporary artist--David Hockney?--'completed'
> it?)>>
> Parker did a good job with what there was. He had to
> write most of the novel,though. At times, it reads like
> Parker, but he worked hard on the Chandlerian wisecracking.
> By the way, Lawrence Block completed a Cornel Woolrich
> novel (Into the Night) and did a really fine job of it. You
> can't tell where the original manuscript ends and Block's
> starts.

Apologies if all the quoted stuff above seems like a lot to wade through, but I'm a bit of a rare bird here these days, and contribute the only occasional snippet from my readings of the digest. I noticed the comments on Poodle Springs and Into The Night and thought that the painting analogy (cited by Mario, but the attribution was lost: sorry about that) was a very interesting one; also, Mario (Mr. T.) made a comment about the seamlessness of Block's work on the Woolrich book (I must state up front though that I haven't read this onw).

However, now I've got all the preliminary out of the way, what struck me was the way in which there seems to be a desire for the 'filling in' or
'finishing off' to be seamless or invisible. I wonder though if that is the only way in which one might approach these kinds of 'collaborative texts'?

In looking at restored architecture, one notices that the restoration work is *sympathetic* to the earlier building, but is nonetheless noticable: it 'fits' but doesn't seek to pass itself off. There is probably some theory or rationale in architectural circles to explain this approach to restoration/preservation, and it may well be that such a theory/rationale may also be applicable to the restoration/re=-construction of the literary work.


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